If you’ve played the original DotA, you know that the game began as a mod using Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 map making tool. Naturally the game evolved over time and was later adapted by Valve into DotA 2. So logically you could assume that Valve owns DotA 2, right? You might recall that Blizzard tried to challenge Valve over the name but eventually settled.

However it seems that there is still questions remaining about who actually owns it, and this is something a jury will be deciding in the near future. This has come about as two developers Lilith Games and uCool who have tried to make DotA 2 clones of their own, but were sued by Valve, but according to ArsTechnica, uCool argued that Valve can’t sue them as they don’t actually own the source material that DotA is based on.

uCool cites a forum post from 2004 where the game’s original creator Eul decided to release it to the public, meaning that its lore and characters are now fair game for anyone to use. Eul wrote, “I wish I could give you a last map that’s playable, but I can’t. Instead, from this point forward DOTA is now open source. Whoever wishes to release a version of DOTA may without my consent, I just ask for a nod in the credits to your map.”

While the judge presiding over the case denied uCool’s motion for a summary dismissal, Judge Charles Breyer decided that a jury should be the ones to look into and conclude whether or not Valve owns DotA 2, and whether or not their lawsuit against the developers stand. However Breyer also points out Blizzard’s own EULA which states that gamers who use their World Editor tool cannot sell their mods for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Blizzard, suggesting that maybe Eul did not even have the right to give away DotA in the first place.

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