Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lineage 2 : FBI and NCsoft Stop Illegal Servers @ MMorpg.Com

NCsoft has announced that they, in conjunction with the FBI, have closed down a group that has been fraudulently providing Lineage 2 service to its customers. The investigation and subsequent raids focus around www.l2extreme.com. The website has since been replaced with an FBI Anti-Piracy Warning that clearly states that "This site has been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigations" and that "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000".

FBI, NCsoft Close Down Computer Game Operation

Year long investigation results in raids in multiple search and seizure warrants; Individuals questioned in unauthorized game server scheme

AUSTIN, Texas, November 20, 2006— FBI Agents working in conjunction with officials from NCsoft’s® North American business successfully closed down a computer game operation alleged to be reaping profits by providing a fraudulent service to its players. The operation was closed down after multiple raids and interviews were conducted in various cities from California to Virginia.

Federal search warrants were served on owners of L2Extreme who were also questioned during the raid. L2Extreme was providing its users with unauthorized service and code for NCsoft’s online computer game, Lineage® II. The warrants enabled officials to halt L2Extreme’s operations while collecting further evidence in the course of the investigation.

The FBI estimates L2Extreme has up to 50,000 active users on its service. NCsoft estimates that monetary losses and damages from the operation are costing NCsoft millions of dollars per year.

L2Extreme advertised on its website, www.l2extreme.com, that more than half million registered users had subscribed to play.

“Operations like this essentially are defrauding customers by stealing from companies like NCsoft,” said Matt Esber, NCsoft North America general counsel. “In the end those losses impact our customer support, product development, operational areas and ultimately they impact our player communities, most of which are trying to play games legitimately. This group in particular was downloading our version of the Lineage II software from our servers, costing us close to a million dollars in realized bandwidth costs during the period it was operational.

“We’ve taken this action because we strongly believe in defending the intellectual property rights that we’ve worked so hard to create. We’re extremely pleased that the FBI has worked with us so diligently to bring this particular case to its current state and we want our customers to understand that we will continue to fight similar operations in the future in order to maintain the integrity of all NCsoft games.”

The investigation into the L2Extreme operation is ongoing.

For more on Lineage II click here.

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