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I am a person who like to do a lot of things for living. I was wondering of releasing offline cheats for free with a Patreon for donations ONLY. Is it illegal to do that or legal? I really need a professional lawyer to help me answer those 2 things.

  1. Is it legal to release free offline cheats? (My intent is to make people have fun with them offline only)

  2. Patreon is only if people want to really help me out and is not required to download my cheats. It is like donation as I said.

I live in Sweden by the way.

Thanks if anyone can answer these two questions.

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    If you "really need a professional lawyer," why are you asking a bunch of yoohoos on the Internet? Basically no one here is an actual lawyer.
    – bdb484
    Sep 19, 2021 at 3:52

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First of all, the definition of hacking and cheating is murky: There is no such thing as a legal definition of cheating. But there is one for hacking.

Hacking is usually defined in the law ​as unauthorized access to a computer or files, be it directly (then often coupled with some sort of trespass) or via the internet.

Cheat codes generally allow modifying the game on the fly. Those were expected input that then resulted in widely unbalanced effects. For example, Age of Empires had E=mc2 trooper that could be sent via the normal text chat. That resulting unit was entirely expected bahavior and in no way unauthorized access to the computer.

Related to them are console commands such as opening the developer menu and then typing TGM in any Bethesda game since Morrowind. These are likewise expected behavior and not unauthorized access.

Because these two are generally already expected by the very design of the game, providing a manual on how to use these functions is nothing else but to provide a documentation of the software.

Now, it gets more tricky with modifying the game with external means that are not provided by the publisher or maker of the game. For example, one might have agreed to not use external software to modify the game in the End User Licensing Agreement, and so far no court has ruled anywhere that a prohibition to modify the game or of the RAM would be an unconscionable clause and void.

Few courts have tested these, but under the theory of tortious interference and with a proper EULA clause, cases like the Fortnight Lawsuit from 2017 (settled in 2021) have been brought. In that case, in a wave of trying to get a particular multiplayer cheat software go away, among others a minor was sued for violating the EULA and advertizing this software, which was claimed to violate copyright law. However, the case settled and was mostly hinging on DMCA issues.

Conclusion

It's murky, you need to hash out your business idea better. Also, you have really strong competition: sites like dlh.net have accrued literally millions of cheat codes over more than 3 decades. I even remember when DirtyLittleHelper was provided as software on a GameStar CD that then would update the database of cheats for games I never even heard of in the late 1990s and early 2000s - there were already hundreds of thousands of entries there then.

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