Helsinki, Finland, May 13th 2013 – Today Sulake, the developer of Habbo Hotel, one of the world’s largest social games and online communities for teenagers, announced that they have resolved an internet piracy case with Mr. Aaron Marshall, an emulator software developer. The emulator software in question was used to run look-alike Habbo Hotels that were using Sulake’s IPs and game client software without Sulake’s permission.
Since 2006, Mr. Marshall has developed and sold over 1000 licenses to this software, the only purpose of which was to enable setting up illegal, pirated versions of Habbo Hotel. Mr. Marshall also maintained a discussion forum where instructions were given on how to run a pirate site and in the past ran some of the biggest pirated Habbo sites.
“It was important to be able to close a case that Sulake has been working on for some time already.” says Sulake General Counsel Taina Roth and continues, “After all our first and foremost job at Sulake is to serve our customers and the Habbo community and we want to focus our efforts in providing a fun and safe service to teens all around the world. However to be able to continuously invest into improving the service we have to be able to protect our assets, the graphics, software and other IP’s and will continue to do so when necessary.”
After becoming aware of the lawsuit filed against him in the Court of Helsinki, Mr. Marshall has ceased the violations of Sulake intellectual property rights e.g. by closing down the license server and stopping making and distributing the emulation software. Sulake and Mr. Marshall were also able to resolve the case with an undisclosed amount for damages.
“I’m pleased that Sulake was willing to resolve the case even though I had violated their intellectual property rights.” Mr. Marshall says and continues “I have stopped developing and distributing the emulator software and based on my recent experience strongly encourage others to stop working with pirated sites immediately. “
Taina Roth concludes “Millions of teenagers love the Habbo characters and graphics and we do license our intellectual property, when we see it benefit the community, for example in the case of the fan sites. However using our graphics and intellectual property without our permission to build competing look-alike services isn’t right.”
About Habbo Hotel and Sulake
Habbo Hotel is one the world’s largest social games and communities for teens. Users join by creating a fully customized online character called a Habbo. From there, they can explore wide variety of spaces and millions of rooms created by other users in the community, play a variety of games, connect with friends, decorate their own rooms, and have fun through creativity and self expression. Currently Habbo Hotel has customers in over 150 countries and the service is available in 12 language versions. To date, almost 300 million characters have been created and over 3 million unique users worldwide visit Habbo Hotel each month.
Habbo Hotel is operated by Finnish company Sulake. With offices in 3 countries and headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, the company currently employs some 70 people worldwide