In August 2021, game developer Bungie filed a series of lawsuits in the United States against entities accused of offering cheats for Destiny 2.
One of the complaints filed in a Washington court was directed at Kunsal Bansal (also known as Lavi) of Bathinda, India.
Bungie identified Bansal as the operator of Lavicheats.com, a site that offers cheats and cheats for Destiny 2 and other games, including Apex Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, League of Legends, Fortnite, Rust, and Valorant.
Bungie says that the software sold by Lavicheats, with ‘aimbots’ and ammo boosters, gives players a competitive advantage. According to the company, offering this type of software also amounts to trafficking in anti-DMCA circumvention devices.
By inducing the direct infringements of Lavicheat users who “copy, reproduce, adapt and/or create derivative works” of Bungie’s copyrighted works, Lavicheats is liable for contributory copyright infringement. Because he had the power to stop this behavior but didn’t, Lavicheats should also be held vicariously responsible, Bungie said.
Bungie’s attempts to track down Bansal
While the Lavicheats website is easy to find, even today, Bungie’s attempts to locate and then serve Bansal were less straightforward. Bathinda, India has a population of over 1.3 million people, so Bungie started with the Lavicheats website and managed to find an associated email address.
In September 2021, the court authorized Bungie to serve Bansal via email and by posting a link to the summons and lawsuit on the Lavicheats Forum. The post was sent but did not appear publicly, so when Bungie filed a motion for default judgment a month later, the court found that Bansal had not been given proper notice.
The problem was overcome in December 2021 and default was entered, but Bunsal still did not appear.
Start the discovery process
In early July 2022, Bungie submitted a request to seek information from various third-party service providers associated with Bunsal and Lavicheats.
The court agreed that discovery could proceed against Namecheap, Cloudflare, Stripe, PayDash, and Coinbase Global. Requests related to Invision Power Services, Discord and Google required more supporting information before they could be approved, the court ruled.
Just a few days later, another problem appeared. PayDash allegedly provided payment processing services for Lavicheats, so Bungie needs his records to support a claim for damages when he seeks a lawsuit against Bansal. But PayDash Limited is a UK company, which means additional steps need to be completed first.
Bungie has filed an application in US court to issue a request letter for international legal assistance under the Hague Evidence Convention (pdf). The court has now granted the request, but whether it will help Bungie’s case progress is another question.
Comprehensive application against collapsed company
Addressed to the Royal Courts of Justice in London (the competent authority), the request seeks all documents related to Bunsal, the email address identified, plus the domains lavicheats.com and lavicheats.org. Additionally, it requests names, usernames, all addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses (with timestamps), MAC addresses, activity logs, plus all sales, transaction, and processing data, for all identified accounts , since 2019.
Whether PayDash can provide any information remains to be seen, but problems may arise. These details are not mentioned in the case, but the records show that PayDash Limited was incorporated on February 18, 2021. This means that, as far as this legal entity is concerned, the data stored in Bunsal is likely to be limited to the six months prior to the Bungie Complaint.
Another complication lies in the corporate status of PayDash Limited. In early May 2022, before the company filed its first set of accounts, its sole administrator made the decision to liquidate the business. Along with a £48,000 debt, he is now in the hands of a trustee.
Bungie is also interested in acquiring the information obtained by PayDash as part of the ‘Know Your Customer’ checks, but it is not clear if they were a priority for the company.
While it may have catered to many types of customers, PayDash appears to have been popular with cheat sellers, black hat-style webmasters, and people looking to convert crypto into cash. In the end, however, the good reviews gave way to universal criticismin some cases linked to the alleged disappearance of customers’ cash.
Bungie’s International Support Request can be found here (pdf)