NovaRO lawsuit decided: Gravity awarded default judgment

Started by RebirthOfficial, Jul 15, 2022, 09:20 PM

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This post was made by request. It is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice.

As most of you know, Gravity filed a lawsuit against NovaRO a few months back. Gravity served the summons to an individual present at the location NovaRO has registered a business and that summons was ignored. This led Gravity to file a request for default judgment which has been granted. It's unclear why the summons went unanswered. Even though the loss was basically inevitable it's generally an extremely bad idea to ignore a court summons, though not actually illegal to do so in this instance.

For those wondering, "What happens now?" At this point, the court will determine damages and Gravity will likely attempt to obtain an injunction to force the server to close. Execution of this order is likely to be complicated due to the server being hosted in Canada, however, it should still be possible to carry it over and have the server hosting terminated. Likewise, ignoring an injunction often leads the person ignoring it to be held in contempt of court. This can result in a daily fine or even imprisonment until the injunction is obeyed. Gravity's case is civil, but ignoring the injunction would carry criminal penalties.

This doesn't necessarily mean NovaRO will close entirely as they could move the server to a less friendly country such as Russia, though with the current events surrounding that it would likely be unpopular. Not just for simply ethical reasons but also for technical ones. Due to those current events, Russia's infrastructure is under constant attack -- the server would likely lag an unplayable amount for anyone outside Russia.

Gravity could also request that certain assets, such as the domain name, be turned over to them. As the website is hosted on a .com domain it's managed by Verisign, an American company, making it fairly trivial to seize or shut down the domain after obtaining an injunction that requests such action.

Basically, NovaRO is looking to at best be the next Pirate Bay, having to constantly shift ownership and hosting locations to evade legal consequences. At worst, the server will simply shut down. What exactly will happen remains to be seen, but it likely won't be good for players of NovaRO.

As for why NovaRO over any other server? Well, that appears to be a perfect storm of variables. The number one likely factor in this is that the owner of NovaRO is physically close to a lawyer with which Gravity has an existing relationship. This combined with the server's size and overall "loudness" (advertising off of private server spaces) as well as blatant copyright and trademark infringement on the website basically made the case not only easily winnable but cheaply as well. Not having to bring an existing lawyer up to speed on Gravity's IP nor pay one to go far outside their typical area of operation likely made this case an easy choice. It's unlikely any one factor played the entire part in why NovaRO specifically was chosen, but if any one factor did, proximity to the lawyer was likely that factor. A lot of people seem to be citing the merch -- something Gravity didn't even mention in their case, as well as NovaRO having a registered business -- also has no bearing on the case (other than possibly the count of "unfair business practices" -- though this does not actually require a registered business). Having a registered business simply saved Gravity a single step in the legal process. The only real damning thing having a registered business did was easily let Gravity see that NovaRO was near a lawyer they had an existing relationship with. There are many servers out there with a registered business, and many servers meet any one of the criteria I mentioned, but few if any tick all the boxes. NovaRO was simply a low-hanging very popular fruit.


This is some of the best info I've seen on the subject, I appreciate you taking the time to make this thread.


Thanks for the info, seems silly to take this down considering RO launched in 2002 (renewal in 2008) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Guess they'll do what they want with their IP, just seems ridiculous  /hmm


Quote from: RebirthOfficial on Jul 15, 2022, 09:20 PM
It's unclear why the summons went unanswered.

True enough, but I'd suggest that  you hit most of the probable reasons:

Quote from: RebirthOfficial on Jul 15, 2022, 09:20 PM
[1]the loss was basically inevitable
[2]not actually illegal to [ignore this court summons].
(My insertions in square brackets)

I'd add  as [3] the reason that the meat persons behind the LLC probably wanted to conceal their identities to make criminal penalties against them harder to enforce.
(Though I don't know how much concealment could actually go on, given that the company documents probably disclose some relevant names etc...)

I'd also add as [4] the avoidance of legal fees, especially legal fees incurred on a foregone conclusion of dead loss.


Still no reaction from GM team, Discord, or even Nova Forums?
I haven't checked so I don't know.
All I know is that they auto-delete all posts in Discord regarding this thingy.


I guess I would go into hiding also if the feds somehow got involved, lol.

   gravity is really looking to take it to another level, so hard to believe all that progression is gonna be lost


It's honestly infuriating how much of trash company Gravity is. They sit on one of the most amazing IPs and do absolutely nothing meaningful with it except a yearly cash-smash-and-grab. Just piss off and let people enjoy private servers, not a single person on these servers will play the crap official server full of bots and paid garbage.


was there a monetary value nova would have to pay? im very curious........