Bungie is fighting back against a Destiny 2 cheat streamer it already banned 13 times in 2022, and who retaliated with threatening social media posts against the studio, its community manager, and other employees.
The federal lawsuit, filed on July 15, accuses Luca Leone of Los Angeles of cheating in the game, streaming video of himself cheating in the game, creating numerous accounts to evade the bans handed him for this cheating, and selling nontransferable in-game items — all in repeat violation of the software license and terms of service for Destiny 2.
Additionally, the lawsuit says Leone has posted threatening and intimidating tweets, including that he was moving to the Seattle area where Bungie is headquartered and threatening to burn down its headquarters.
On July 5, the lawsuit says Leone warned Bungie to “keep [its] doors locked.” The suit said Twitter suspended his account and forced him to remove a threatening tweet; the account’s tweets have since been placed in a protected state and are hidden from public view.
Bungie’s suit appears to strike back with every claim it could make under copyright and contract law. His serial cheating and account creation, the studio says, violates the contract all users accept as a condition for creating an account with the studio. Other actions constitute copyright infringement, fraud, and violations of the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Washington state’s Consumer Protection Act.
“It would be a vast understatement to merely describe Leone as a serial ban evader and cheater,” the complaint reads, making note that Leone has “repeatedly livestreamed himself cheating at Destiny 2.” It also includes an alleged conversation from Twitter where, in early June, Leone appears to admit to deliberately circumventing a hardware ban. “Bungie will NEVER be able to stop me,” Leone allegedly said during that exchange.
The suit also alleges Leone, working through “a website notorious as a marketplace for stolen accounts and other criminal fraud,” sold Destiny 2 emblems, clan names, and even Bungie accounts.
Bungie’s claim seeks a court order barring Leone from cheating, creating new accounts, or “carrying out his threats or other harassment against Bungie, its employees or players.” It’s seeking statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the numerous copyright violations it alleges (by running cheat software), and $2,500 under the DMCA “per instance of Defendant’s deployment of cheat software” plus court costs and attorney’s fees.
This is not the first time in recent memory that Bungie has taken legal steps to protect itself from malicious users. A month ago, the developer sued a Destiny 2 YouTuber who filed several false DMCA claims to disrupt other streamers and the studio’s YouTube channel itself. And in January 2021, the studio joined Valorant maker Riot Games to sue a cheat maker and seller.
Dylan Gafner, the Destiny 2 community manager targeted for harassment, said in a tweet on Saturday that the kind of conduct alleged in this lawsuit is a problem for “more studios than ours.
“Cases of harassment against our developers have actively made it harder for us to communicate with the broader community,” he said. “Many in the comments say they do not condone harassment. I hope they also stand against it when they find that friends or family are engaging in it.”