Epic Games sues minor for cheating in Fortnite, gets lambasted by mother

The company has launched an aggressive legal campaign against certain individuals in which they're asking for up to $150,000 in damages. However, instead of inquiring about the cheaters, particularly their ages, Epic Games listed all of the defendants publicly. Considering that many gamers are minors, Epic's approach runs the risk of breaking local laws, not to mention how many contracts involving minors don't hold up in court.

Today, the mother of one of the defendants revealed that her son was fourteen years old and Epic Games broke Delaware law by revealing his name. Additionally, she said that she never gave consent for her child to play Fortnite to begin with, which violates Fortnite's Terms of Service. The letter also stated that the child learned the cheats from a public website, so Epic Games should be going after the website instead.

It's likely that the lawsuit will be dismissed given the fact that Epic Games revealed the minor's name. However, Epic Games issued another statement to Game Informer in which they said the following.

Epic is not okay with ongoing cheating or copyright infringement from anyone at any age. As stated previously, we take cheating seriously, and we'll pursue all available options to make sure our games are fun, fair, and competitive for players.

It doesn't seem like they're willing to let this go even though they made a severe blunder in the filing process and entered into a contract with a minor. We'll keep you updated if we hear more about the lawsuit. Cheating sucks, but Epic's heavy-handed approach could come back to haunt them. Hopefully both parties can come together for an amicable solution.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

  • Gotta make sure you read the source articles that Asher skims over before writing his I guess. The kid brought the suit on himself by appealing the DMCA claim on YouTube. If the people that own the game don't want you streaming/uploading it, you should stop. As for naming the kid in their suit, how else are you going to sue him? "Child who owns X YouTube account"?
  • They're also asking for $150,000. And there are ways to avoid naming defendants publicly.
  • Yes. There is much more context to this story. People should find the full story and see why this fourteen year old is being sued. I hope he has to pay up big!
  • That's absurd. When I was 14, I tried hacking every game I played. Blizzard never once even complained about it and I was very successful at doing so with Diablo 1. Plus, every kid wants to stream games these days. They should encourage the engagement. I hope this kid's mother counter sues and bankrupts Epic.
  • You're encouraging cheaters and cheating? Ok...
  • Haha bankrupt Epic? Psh wow also when you are 14 that was what 20 years ago? They are after that stuff even more now.
  • Yeah the kid and that mother should be fined 150,000$. doesn't matter the age or that she never gave consent. The game was downloaded on the device and terms/conditions accepted so fair game here to penalize them.
  • I'm no legal eagle but if your local laws dictate that a minor cannot enter into a contract and you did diddly squat to check their age, then the mother has a point. Names can be redacted from public facing records including legal proceedings, happens all the time when a minor is either charged with or is the victim of an offence. Regardless of what the kid did he is still a child and is protected as such in law. Very few children would be able to comprehend the financial/social/legal consequences of playing around with a game on their own pc. Very few parents would read the terms and conditions of a game played by their child. To be honest most would stop at the rating and look at some game shots to determine whether they thought it was appropriate for their child. Epic needs to do their research if they're going to pursue this approach as they are a far more juicy target for legal proceedings for both disgruntled gamers and governments that like to over regulate industries and look proactive in defending their citizens rights.
  • How is a 14-year-old gamer going to produce $150,000? He's just a child. He doesn't have the best judgement.
  • Additionally, minors can't enter into contracts. This is definitely going to get dismissed.
  • A little more information into this case that all the news outlets seems to be glossing over. Epic IS suing many cheat makers already. But they're also going after some players to discourage their use as well as attempting to stop the hacks at the source. Epic is suing this kid because he forced their hand. He's been banned from the game over 10 times already, but he continues to play because the game is free and new emails are free to make to get a new account. He's being sued because they filed a DMCA takedown notice for a video on his YouTube channel that promotes a subscription based cheating service he used, demonstrates it, and shows others how to install/use it. He filed a counter complaint to get his video put back up. According to the YouTube terms, Epic now has to take their claim to court or let the video stand. He admits to cheating in the court documents, but his defense is that "everyone does it", and the cheats are "widely available", and he only does it for fun, so why should he get in trouble? His mom adds to this by saying he can't be liable because he's a minor, and she never gave him permission to play the game, so she's not liable either. Is this going to work out in Epic's favor? Most likely not. But because the kid and the hacks he uses alters their intellectual property, they have an obligation to try and protect it. If he would've just stopped cheating after he'd been banned, or allowed his video to be taken down instead of challenging it, he wouldn't be in this mess.
  • Here's what's going to happen.. 1. This suit will get tossed. 2. Epic will lose customers because people don't want to do business with companies that use a heavy handed approach to prevent stealing/cheating--see Walmart. 3. Epic will get counter sued and lose a substantial sum of money. 4. Epic will stop suing people and start adopting technologies that prevent cheating by periodically changing the game's code and releasing "bug" fixes. Hopefully, they'll start at number 4 in the future.
  • Epic should gain customers!  People want to know they are playing and winning or losing based on skill rather than some lazy cheater taking a short cut.  It's one thing if it's a single player game and you just can't beat the game and need some extra help.  It's another when you're playing against other people. 
  • You are joking, if there was no cheating in pc games I would consider going back to playing online games again. Great standards you're setting for kids if they can just do what they want.
  • Personally, I feel if you cheat you should pay the price.  I don't care what age you are.  And I'd love to give that kid's mother a piece of my mind, too. She said she never gave her child permission to play the game.  What the hell kind of parent is SHE, then?  I'll tell you. The typical parent that takes little to no real interest in their child, who sloughs them off onto the schools and the state and media to be the babysitters instead of actually raising them.
  • Um in all honesty what parent reads the terms and conditions of an appropriately rated video game their child downloaded for free? Most would ensure that at a platform level (steam/MS Store/PSN) any micro transaction and age restrictions were set to require authorisation and would then be done. My kids are quite young so I monitor practically everything they do. It will reach a point where they become more independent of me and spend more time playing with friends, yet still legally considered a minor. That's a good thing. There's no way my parents knew everything I did when I was a teenager and I was a pretty boring kid. Also before you get carried away about the mum's comment, when I was a kid you could walk into any video store and hire an age appropriate game regardless of 'parental permission'. This assumed requirement for parental accountability in what should be safe, curated digital environments is bordering on paranoia. By all means monitor the length of time they play, whether it's impacting on other aspects of their life and educate on awareness of inappropriate behaviours. But then you know, they get to play. I do care that the law takes into account a child's age, as it would be horrible to think that something as stupid as installing a copyright infringing mod for a video game impacting on their employment or other opportunities when they become an adult. If Epic can sell this as a positive approach on behalf gamers then their PR department deserves a raise. Going after a 14 year old kid for not playing your game the way you'd like them to is heavy handed at best. Having a crack at the mum for trying to exploit a potential loophole to avoid paying a massive fine is also pointless.
  • Eh, there are parents who do read the terms and conditions. You should be teaching them to read every single small print and terms and conditions. Explaining the legal rammifications of certain aspects etc. For example, what happens when the ISPs slip in dodgy clauses which enable them to say you forego your rights to privacy if you use their service?
  • What does an ISP have to do with a video game? The child isn't establishing contracts for delivery of internet services. Don't conflate what you need to be teaching your child to prepare them for life in the big bad world with the T&C of a piece of entertainment. Also I'm pretty damn sure no ISP or service provider would allow a child to enter into any form contract without some formal evidence of parental consent.
  • Well he's a minor. So they should sue the parents.
  • So if this kids commits murder should his parents get the needle?
  • Um what's your point? Given that a child cannot receive the death penalty it seems a mute point. Are you suggesting that a parent should assume no legal responsibility for the actions of their child? As that seems odd. My understanding would be that in charging the child any financial claims would automatically be pursued through the parent/legal guardian.
  • At 14 you are well aware of what’s right and what’s wrong.  Also, if I learn how to shoot someone in the head and murder them.  Will ask my mum to suggest police go after the website where I learnt how to do it. Facepalm 
  • Considering the parent didn't even know what her kid is up to.  You can easily make the assumption that the kid was not taught right from wrong.
  • The kid seems to have a great education. Listening to that mother's comment was so funny. She gave enough freedom for her kid to do whatever he wanted to do and when he gets caught for bs behaviour, she'll come and defend him and play the victim card. What a great lesson and role model to your kid!
  • A 14 year old cannot consent to an EULA, so their agreement means nothing. They don't get ages.  Also, $150k is laughable. They are not suffering damages to that amount.  This is a bad lawsuit. The moms letter is a great counter point. You people should read it.  I think EULAs are soon going to have their day in court, and be defeated. We all know they are written in language the average layman (never mind a 14 year old) struggles to comprehend. There is usually no age gate or verification.  They allow you to proceed without reading it. They do not require parental consent for minors.  Social Services (Twitch, YouTube, Social Networks) are likely to come under fire for this eventually as well (considering the things that go on there). IMO, they exploit minors for profit.    Also, name dropping minors is well known to be a very BAD thingntobdo - even illegal in many (if not most) states. That was really bad form on behalf of epic and the sites covering this story. 
  • So the lesson here is to do crime when you're a minor. Also, if the parent is truely concerned, they could easily lock things down so kids can not do things they're not supposed to.
  • Couldn't agree more. Epic is going to pay big time for this mistake. People don't want to do business with a company that will sue their customers. Cheating should be discouraged using technology and bans, not lawsuits.
  • As a customer who is also a gamer I'm tired of all these cheaters. I'm actually for any actions that will stop these idiots from ruining a game.I'm actually glad these steps are taken. I think if these cheaters don't play the game it'll end up being a postitive thing and more gamers will want to play this cheater-free game. ofc serious action is needed to make these idiots (and others) think twice before trying such bs again...
  • What the hell is up with the internet where any issue gets escalated to either being comparable with murder or terrorism and then everyone gets to cast righteous judgement? Kid repeatedly used a cheat in a video game, acted like a self centred brat and bragged about it on the internet. But no, this is just like killing someone. Quick everyone gather the pitch forks! We got a witch hunt,
  • Well, we see where the son gets his morals from.
  • So epic games rips off PUBG with Fortnite and then sue a minor for cheating? 🤔
  • Lol well said. Epic will get flamed to death for this one. I hope PUBG publicly comments about how they don't sue their customers (or copy cat rivals).
  • Get all those little bastrds. If he's smart enough to cheat and have a YouTube channel highlighting those cheats, he's smart enough to sit in court and squirm under a judge and watch his mom get lectured by a judge on how to raise children.
  • Yeah and next we can get those illegally downloading movies and music, not crossing the street at intersections, cheating at hopscotch, talking to loudly on the bus and picking their noses. It's about time they paid for their crimes, ooooh that'll show those terrible parents what's what. /s Sheesh.
  • I have yet to see a piece of software that adequately vets the users age for the purpose of agreeing to a EULA. Throw me some VC money i got an idea!
  • Who really gives a crap? I never understood why minors are afforded privacy in the law when adults aren't afforded the same rights. You are a defendant, there should be a public record. I also cannot stand the society we have created with these parent's that act their children can do no wrong and that everyone else must be wrong and need to change their ways to not burden their children with such trivial matters like manners, rules, or law.
  • In many European countries, minors (aka anyone under 16 years) is treated the exact same as adults when the courts/law gets involved. I think it's a good idea and Canadians and US people should have this as well :)
  • Nah, it will depende on the crimes.
  • Because they are children. You know the most vulnerable people on the planet. Seriously what more reason do you need. But if that's too soft and fluffy in this snowflake adverse world we apparently now live in, for a science reason look up early childhood development, especially where it talks to cognitive function of children. Short version brain development in the realm of action/consequences is still occurring. What kinda ugly world do you want to live in, where your entire life could be ruined because you acted like a child when you were a child.
  • A world where teenagers will have to be responsible for their actions. Perhaps if we had this type of system, we wouldn't have situations where groups of teens are standing around laughing and taking selfies while they watch a disabled person drown.
  • Yeah because that situation is completely representative of all teenagers across the world. Maybe if we had people consider issues within the context they occur, the internet wouldn't be full of gross generalisations and straw man arguments.
  • Once again? Very badly written article by Asher Madan. I'm sorry to tell but since he arrived the quality of the articles has dropped drastically.  There are so many things to tell and so little information in the article. Lucas P's post was a lot better and more informative than the article
  • THIS ASHER MADAN SUCKS. Like really and I agree with the comment above.
  • So on a tech site, the general concenus is that the mother should always know what her 14 year old is doing at all times and that she should have locked down the tech. When any of you were 14 did you parents helicopter and know your every move? Did everything you do was morally or ethically 100% right? Did your parents at when you were 14 know anything about tech and how to block sites, know what you did online etc?  I'm not saying the kid was right, but really suing a kid for $150k for this? Where does this make any sense to anyone. Are we as a group okay with trying to ruin this kids life over a game?  I know I will get down voted and that's fine. But this is ridiculas. My parents had no idea what I was doing online at 14. I was all over sites like napster. They had no idea what it was and how to even tell if I was using it. Parental blocks on internet sights and certain search terms were almost non-excistant.  I'm thinking most people are beinga but hipocritally about this. 
  • I've come to expect nothing from this site comments 😂😭
  • Finally a rational person emerges, I was starting to lose hope they still existed.
  • Suing each other, America's favorite pastime. Still, I'm with Epic in this one.
  • Gave up PC gaming when Modern Warfare on Steam was flooded with hacks years ago.  Couldn’t hardly find a fair game.  I complained to Steam and nothing was done.  Loved the 64 vs 64 matches!! I won’t play Fortnite or any game if I hear they’ll allow hacks. H I hope Epic wins and puts this little punk in his place.
  • If Epic informed me my kid was cheating, I'd ***** slap his arse for an hour and a half, making him make a youtube video on how stupid he was cheating. Then I'd sell his computer and buy ice cream, for myself.
  • Reading this and most of comments I want to start cheating. Just to annoy all oversensitive snowflakes.