Amidst all the other data-mined information that’s been excavated from the Diablo III Beta, some of the diggers found this digital software certificate. No one’s quite sure what it means, though if anyone knowledgeable in copyright law or related fields can enlighten us, feel free.
Obviously it’s some sort of copyright for Diablo III, filed by Blizzard Entertainment, and the reason it’s been bandied about lately is due to the date. As you can see, it’s valid from January 7, 2010 to December 5, 2011, and some fans have taken the expiration date to mean that Diablo III must be released by then.
I find that fairly unlikely. This is obviously some kind of legal issue, and all developers must have software certificates for their products under development, but these sorts of licenses are surely renewable. It’s not as if Blizzard didn’t have such a registration for Diablo III prior to January 2010, and they’re obviously going to register it again after that date. I think it’s just a coincidence that the date it near the end of the year, when they keep saying they want to release the game in 2011.
Also note that December 5th falls on a Monday and games are released in the US usually on a Tuesday and in Europe on a Friday. So as far as jumping to conclusions regarding a release date, I doubt this has anything to do with it but we’re just pointing it out as it’s doing the rounds.
Update: Numerous semi-expert explanations in comments and email. I’ll quote one from email:
The certificate is issued by a certificate authority (whom you, or your computer trusts) and is a way of verifying software. Chances are, without a valid certificate tied to the game it won’t be possible to play Diablo 3, much the same way Apple prevents unsigned apps to run on iOS. As for the expiration date Blizzard will renew it when the time comes. In conclusion, this is not any kind of legal document, it is rather, a way to insure you are using the intend software, unmodified.