haofang.gif An interesting post over at the v.useful, relatively obscure Billsdue weblog, which is where former MarketWatch co-founder and current Chinese MMO firm CEO Bill Bishop hangs out - he has news on a Chinese lawsuit regarding online gaming 'copyright violations'.

The linked article notes that (major Chinese gaming firm) Shanda's subsidiary Haofang is "being sued for using War Craft [the RTS, not World of!], Counter Strike and three other games without copyrights." A commenter on Bill's blog explains what Haofang does a little better: "By having the user download client software that connects to a Haofang server they can emulate the LAN environment and play other gamers across the Internet in LAN mode (without the need for a CD-Key)."

Even more interesting, the anonymous commenter notes: "To say that these services promote piracy is very dubious. Blizzard tried for years to shut down Haofang but were unsuccessful so I think that Aomei is just trying to get some publicity. However Blizzard did manage to shut down a similar, but not identical, service in the U.S. called BnetD." Hm, but... playing games online without a CD key? Are we sure this doesn't encourage people to, say, not have a CD key? This is certainly not cut and dried, though - I suspect many of the intricacies are lost to us in the West, since we haven't seen the system running.