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Pokémon Go creator wins $5M settlement from hack creators

Final judgement issued Tuesday

Pokemon Go Photo: Michael McWhertor/Polygon

A cheatmaker creating hacks for Pokémon Go, Ingress, and Harry Potter Wizards Unite has agreed to a $5 million settlement following a lawsuit filed by creator Niantic, Inc. in 2019. The final judgement on the case, which also granted Niantic a permanent injunction, was filed in a California district court on Tuesday.

First reported by TorrentFreak, the hacking group called Global++ created three infringing programs: PokeGo++, Potter++, and Ingress++, each of which were hacked versions of the relative games using Niantic’s game’s code. Using Niantic’s code, Global++’s apps were “tweaked” versions of Niantic’s games, allowing players the ability to spoof their GPS and use “auto-walk” functions, among other features.

As part of the lawsuit, Global++ faced charges including copyright infringement and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The cheatmakers were found to have accessed and copied Niantic’s map data, and to have financially benefited from its actions, selling access to its programs, which allowed players to cheat the system. (This is where the counts regarding California’s Unfair Competition Law comes in.)

As part of the settlement, Global++ has agreed to pay the $5 million in damages. It also said it’ll stop making these hacks, selling stuff using Niantic’s code, and won’t interfere with Niantic’s mobile games or servers again. (This is alongside a long list of other things they’re now forbidden from doing.)

Niantic has been involved in a couple different lawsuits over the past few years, including a 2019 settlement involving Pokémon Go and “pissed-off homeowners,” which required Niantic to tweak the game. The year prior, Niantic settled a class-action lawsuit and agreed to pay attendees of the Chicago Pokémon Go festival their share of a $1.58 million settlement.

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