Importance of Reading License Agreements

Players of Blizzard Entertainment’s multi-player online videogame World of Warcraft may be getting more than they bargained for. Spyware. A hidden program called “Warden” scans gamers’ computers. The purpose of the warden is to verify compliance with the EULA and TOS., and to prevent cheating. However, many users may find it very objectionable to have a third program spying on their other processes. Blizzard Entertainment does give notice of what it is doing but how many people really read online agreements top to bottom. Also, the scope of what Blizzard Entertainment reserves the right to do is very broad.

Select excerpts from World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use Agreement (updated June 2, 2005):

13.A – WHEN RUNNING, THE WORLD OF WARCRAFT CLIENT MAY MONITOR YOUR COMPUTERS RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM) AND/OR CPU PROCESSES FOR UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY PROGRAMS RUNNING CONCURRENTLY WITH WORLD OF WARCRAFT. AN “UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY PROGRAM” AS USED HEREIN SHALL BE DEFINED AS ANY THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY “ADDON” OR “MOD,” THAT IN BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENTS SOLE DETERMINATION: (i) ENABLES OR FACILITATES CHEATING OF ANY TYPE; (ii) ALLOWS USERS TO MODIFY OR HACK THE WORLD OF WARCRAFT INTERFACE, ENVIRONMENT, AND/OR EXPERIENCE IN ANY WAY NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT; OR (iii) INTERCEPTS, “MINES,” OR OTHERWISE COLLECTS INFORMATION FROM OR THROUGH WORLD OF WARCRAFT. IN THE EVENT THAT WORLD OF WARCRAFT DETECTS AN UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY PROGRAM, BLIZZARD MAY (a) COMMUNICATE INFORMATION BACK TO BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION YOUR ACCOUNT NAME, DETAILS ABOUT THE UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY PROGRAM DETECTED, AND THE TIME AND DATE THE UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY PROGRAM WAS DETECTED; AND/OR (b) EXERCISE ANY OR ALL OF ITS RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 6 OF THIS AGREEMENT, WITH OR WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE TO THE USER.

13.C – Blizzard Entertainment has the right to obtain certain identification information about your computer and its operating system, including the identification numbers of your hard drives, central processing unit, IP addresses and operating systems, for identification purposes without any further notice to you.

13.D – Blizzard Entertainment has the right to obtain “non-personal” data from your connection to World of Warcraft in order to make certain demographic assumptions regarding the users of World of Warcraft without any further notice to you.

13.E – In order to assist Blizzard Entertainment to police users who may use “hacks,” or “cheats” to gain an advantage over other players, you acknowledge that Blizzard Entertainment shall have the right to obtain certain information from your computer and its component parts, including your computers random access memory, video card, central processing unit, and storage devices. This information will only be used for the purpose of identifying “cheaters,” and for no other reason.

Source: Greg Hoglund in The Online Rootkit Magazine