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BH
BH, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 225
Experience:  JD and Masters of Law in Intellectual Property and Media.
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i have a website for an online game and i sell its currency

Customer Question

i have a website for an online game and i sell its currency and some accounts(characters) i have received an email from the company of the game saying that i violated the tos and copyrights. so my web host provider disabled my website now i switched to chinese web hosting. my question is can they sue me knowing that i live in kuwait and they are located in canada.

Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  BH replied 8 months ago.

bridgeth :

Yes, they could try to pursue a case but they would have a hard time enforcing you as they have a jurisdictional issue (i.e. they do not have jurisdiction to compel you to come to Canada for a suit).

bridgeth :

If you continue to violate their TOS, they will continually shut you down and try to block you from using the site.

Customer:

ok but i don't have anything with my name

Customer:

domain and the host are all registered to a chinese company

Customer:

and the chinese company told me that they will not disable my website if they received any email from the company

bridgeth :

The answer to those questions are of a technical nature, not a legal nature.

Customer:

i understand ...ok so what just happend is that they just tried to buy something from my website

bridgeth :

I am not sure the technicality of how they could find your information through your domain or host. And I cannot comment as to whether or not your host will disable your site

Customer:

and i refunded them and canceled their order

Customer:

do you think they are trying to get my information from my paypal or they just want an evidence that i sold them this item

bridgeth :

Depending on their TOS they could try to sue you in your own country under your country's civil law. However, that may be somewhat difficult and since they do not know your personal information, it would seem it would be extremely hard.

Customer:

can paypal give them my info?

bridgeth :

Hard to say. It could be both. I do know that paypal has registered information but they cannot give your information unless they are compelled to do so by law.

bridgeth :

Unless otherwise stated in their terms of use and privacy policy.

Customer:

ok i have questions about that copyrights now

bridgeth :

but I know that paypal has a very strict privacy policy

Customer:

i don't use the game name or logo in my website ....

bridgeth :

Here is where paypal could give out your info "



  • Law enforcement, government officials, or other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process or requirement applicable to PayPal or one of its affiliates; when we need to do so to comply with law or credit card rules; or when we believe, in our sole discretion, that the disclosure of personal information is necessary to prevent physical harm or financial loss, to report suspected illegal activity or to investigate violations of our User Agreement."

Customer:

alright

Customer:

so lets say if the game name is XXXXX XXXXX warcraft or "wow" and my domain is wnw n as and is that a violating to copyrights?

bridgeth :

Just to be clear you said that your domain is wnwn?

Customer:

because in the email they say that my website is acting as the offical support site for the game

bridgeth :

In the example that you just gave, no, that is not violating trademarks. And domain name usage is a trademark issue, not copyright

bridgeth :

It is likely that the issue is not the domain name of your site but the activity on it - i.e. what you are selling

Customer:

yes if the game name is XXXXX XXXXX of war craft" and my domain is "wnw" or wnwstore

bridgeth :

No, the domain would not infringe upon their trademark.

Customer:

ok what about some pictures from the game is that a violation?

Customer:

not that logo

Customer:

just some picture of characters

bridgeth :

Yes, that would be a copyright violation.

bridgeth :

All images, characters, etc. from the game are copyright protected.

Customer:

i see

Customer:

but ur saying if they want to sue me they will have to come to my country to do that

Customer:

and comply to our rules

Customer:

right?

bridgeth :

Yes. They could sue in their home country but they cannot compel you to go there for the suit and they would need to serve you. However, if you ever go to that country, they could potentially serve you.

Customer:

well im not canadian and i don't plan to go there

bridgeth :

The main thing that they will try to do is shut you down through your host, as you already know.

Customer:

so what do u advice me to do? ignore their emails or just remove everything related to copyright?

Customer:

im sure they can't shutdown my website

Customer:

because there are other website that are using the game name and logo for years and they are located in china

bridgeth :

You should comply with their TOS. I would remove all infringing content such as copyright images, etc.

bridgeth :

It may be that they tried to shut down those sites as well. Or perhaps they just ignored them.

Customer:

do u think thats why they just tried to order an item from me ? to prove that i violated the tos?

bridgeth :

Probably that and to find out your name and information.

Customer:

i mean if i sell a character to someone they cant prove that i did

Customer:

trading gold is a part of the game

bridgeth :

That I am not sure about because it would again be of a technical nature. I am not even sure how you can "sell a character'

bridgeth :

With games such as WOW they can cancel someone's account for any reason. They will try to discover who you are to cancel your account with the game.

Customer:

i think its selling the login and the password XXXXX mean they still own the character and they can delete ban or whatever at anytime

bridgeth :

Oh so you create a user and password XXXXX then sell the account?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

thats not stealing anything from them its only a violation to tos

Customer:

and they can prove that

bridgeth :

Interesting. They could shut down any account if they know if violated their TOS. Your website and they selling of accounts surely violates their terms but that is not actionable except for shutting down your account. Their main cause of action would be based on copyright infringement for your external website.

bridgeth :

They technically could sue for any amounts that you obtained in the sale as it would be their damages in your selling the character - but I assume that is somewhat nominal. Copyright infringement is the bigger issue.

Customer:

ok the only copyright violation i have right now are the pictures on the character i will remove them right now and see

bridgeth :

That is a good plan.

Customer:

alright and i will ask lawyer here for more info about our rules

bridgeth :

Ok.

Customer:

thanks alot :)

bridgeth :

Let me know if you have any other questions. If you are satisfied with my answer place rate it!

bridgeth :

You're welcome.

Customer:

i will for sure

bridgeth :

Best of luck.

Customer:

thank you for your time

BH, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 225
Experience: JD and Masters of Law in Intellectual Property and Media.
BH and 3 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Hi


 


I have asked some lawyers in my country and they said that i must first receive a diplomatic warning directly to me from their Embassy or any other way and the email doesn't count as a warning.


 


What do think about that? I have not received any warning or notice to me directly what i have received is only an email from the host provider in usa and they forwarded the email to the guy who designed my website not to me.


 


Thanks and sorry for my bad english

Expert:  BH replied 8 months ago.
Unfortunately, I do not know the laws of your home country. I do however know that the email does not suffice to start any action here in the U.S. though it could be evidence that you are on notice and are willfully violating the TOS and infringing on their copyright. However, as I stated before, they have a jurisdictional issue since you have no connection with the US.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

unfortunately lawyers here in kuwait don't know alot about intellectual property. and it is a very small country.


 


But they all said the same thing to me that the email doesn't count as an offical warning.


 


I just had to ask you to confirm this.


 


thanks alot for all your help i appreciate it .

Expert:  BH replied 8 months ago.
You're welcome.

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