In an opinion last week, Judge Stanton granted video game manufacturer Take-Two’s request for an injunction against the creator of two software programs that allowed users to cheat at Take-Two’s “Grand Theft Auto V” video game. Among other functions, the computer programs allow users to use an unlimited amount of in-game currency that otherwise had to be purchased from Take-Two. Take-Two alleged that the cheat software violated Take-Two’s copyright in “Grand Theft Auto V” and also violated the terms of the user agreement.
In granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Stanton focused on the harm to both the public as well as Take-Two:
Aside from denying that the cheat programs infringe Take-Two’s copyright, [the defendant] does not argue that the public interest would be served by permitting him to continue working on and distributing programs that alter GTAV. Furthermore, legitimate users of GTAV are harmed by programs . . . that permit their users to disadvantage players who do not use the cheat programs and give to their users unlimited digital currency with which to purchase added features that GTAV’s legitimate users do not have access to or must purchase from Take-Two. Additionally, the public’s interest in protecting Take-Two’s investment in creating video games and incentivizing it to continue such investment is promoted by issuing the requested injunction.
Judge Stanton also enforced the forum selection clause despite claims by the defendant that litigating the case in New York would cause hardship:
[A] forum selection clause that is in clear and unambiguous language, as it is here, is enforceable even if it is in fine print. And [m]ere absence of negotiation over the terms of a contract does not render a forum-selection clause unenforceable. That [the defendant] did not read or understand the forum selection clause is immaterial as a matter of law, because a signatory to a contract is presumed to have read, understood and agreed to be bound by all terms, including the forum selection clauses, in the documents he or she signed. As the Supreme Court noted long ago:
“It will not do for a man to enter into a contract, and, when called upon to respond to its obligations, to say that he did not read it when he signed it, or did not know what it contained. If this were permitted, contracts would not be worth the paper on which they are written. But such is not the law. A contractor must stand by the words of his contract; and, if he will not read what he signs, he alone is responsible for his omission.” Upton v. Tribilcock, 91 U.S. (1 Otto) 45, 50 (1875).