Video Game Law Blog

Current issues in video game law and technological innovation.

  • REVIVING YEE'S VIDEO GAME LEGISLATION IN CALIFORNIA
    This week, a federal appeals court will have to determine whether legislation drafted by Leland Yee for the state of California that had been struck down by the courts should be revived. The original
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  • ELECTRONIC ARTS SUED OVER "WIN WITH THE REBELS"
    The Las-Vegas Review Journal has reported that Electronic Arts is being sued by Gerald Willis for as much as 1.5 million dollars for infringing Willis' copyright over the University of Las Vegas'
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  • LittleBigPlanet DELAYED OVER RELIGIOUS LYRICS
    A Muslim gamer's flagging of a song that contains lyrics from verses of the Koran has resulted in a formal apology from Sony. It is reported that the complaint will result in the delay of the
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  • OBAMA IN BURNOUT
    Barack Obama has brought his campaign online. It is reported that nine games, including Burnout, Madden, Nascar and NHL, feature Mr. Obama's in-game ads in the Xbox Live versions of the games
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  • THE PIRATES OF WAR
    Submitted by Karine Bellavance Despite the fact that Gears of War 2 is not coming to PC, it is reported that a forged copy of the game has already been uploaded by various pirate sites for use
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  • FACENDA'S FAMILY SUES NFL FILMS
    Submitted by Sylvie Lang A U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that the estate of legendary football announcer John Facenda can sue NFL Films for the misuse of his father’s voice in a promotional
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  • PROLIFIC PIRATE PLEADS GUILTY
    Submitted by Karine Bellavance Gary Boulter, who took part in a major piracy operation in Bristol, plead guilty to 23 offenses relating to the commercial piracy of illegally copied games, films,
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  • NVIDIA SUED
    Submitted by Karine Bellavance NVIDIA Corporation is being sued by a New York based law firm for alleged securities fraud. The firm alleges that between November 2007 and July 2008, NVIDIA accumulated
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  • Jim Brown takes on EA and Sony
    Former Cleveland Browns player Jim Brown is suing Electronics Arts and Sony for using his image in EA's Madden NFL series without his authorization. Brown takes the position that video games
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  • GTA San Andreas Class Action Decertified
    Though Take Two had been nearing settlement with the plaintiffs in a class action who claimed to have been offended by hidden, sexual content in Take Two's GTA San Andreas Game - a.k.a. the Hot
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  • Scrabulous removed, but returns under a new name
    Facebook users in Canada and the US were blocked from using the extremely popular Scrabulous application earlier this week. Facebook blocked the application pursuant to Hasbro’s request, as
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  • Merger Complete
    Activision and Vivendi Games have officially merged as Activision Blizzard, making Vivendi Games a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision. The merger is viewed as a new chapter in interactive entertainment,
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  • Nintendo Controllers Banned After Bid for New Trial Rejected
    U.S. District Judge Ron Clark has rejected Nintendo Co’s bid for a new trial and forced the company to either post a bond or put royalties in escrow to avoid a ban in the US on some of its controllers
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  • A Simply Scrabulous Lawsuit
    A lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in New York by Hasbro Inc. against the creators of “Scrabulous”. Although an official version of Scrabble was issued last week by Electronic
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  • Canadians Doing Their Share to Boost Game Industry
    Video game hardware and software sales for the first half of 2008 are up 56 percent in Canada and 53 percent in the US compared to last year. First-half sales were $783 million in Canada and $8.3
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  • Konami sues Viacom over ROCK BAND
    According to a Bloomberg report, Konami filed suit in Marshall, Texas, Federal Court on July 9, 2008 against Harmonix Music Systems, its parent company Viacom and Viacom’s MTV Networks Co. Konami
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  • Bot makers: beware!
    In March we reported that Vivendi had sued the author of a software tool that automates certain in-game tasks such as fighting in World of Warcraft. Vivendi claimed that the software tool infringed
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  • NY Passes Video Game Display Bill
    The New York State Assembly has passed a bill mandating that all videogames sold in the state of New York display ESRB ratings on their packaging. The bill also requires new consoles to be equipped
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  • Is this the End of Jack Thompson?
    Jack Thompson, lawyer and anti-video game advocate, is facing permanent disbarment. Judge Tunis, the Referee overseeing Mr. Thompson's disciplinary hearing rejected the recommendation of the Florida
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  • Court Upholds $21M Patent Infringement Verdict Against Nintendo
    The verdict in favour of Anascape Ltd., originally handeded down on May 14, 2008, was upheld by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texax, Lufkin Division, when it denied Nintendo's
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  • Two Gamers File Class Action Lawsuit Against Electronic Arts
    The claim alleges that Electronic Arts' exclusive rights agreement with the NFL, NCAA football and the Arena Football League, which grants EA the sole right to publish games featuring the thoe
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  • Activision Vivendi Merger to Proceed
    A Delaware judge denied the preliminary injunction to halt the merger between Activision and Vivendi S.A. that was requested by the Wayne County Employees' Retirement System. The announcement
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  • File Share Beware - IP ID'd
    Submitted by Amanda Alfieri, Articled Student Topware Interactive obtained judgments from a London Court against four individuals for file-sharing . The Court granted interim damages in the amount
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  • Tecmo's legal woes
    Submitted by Tania Da Silva, Articled Student On June 17, 2008, it was reported that two of Tecmo’s employees, Team Ninja developers Hiroaki Ozawa and Tatsuki Tsunoda, were filing a class
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  • Nintendo and Nyko in Nunchuk Fight
    Nintendo has sued Nyko Technologies Inc. over its Wii accessory, the wireless Kama Nunchuk. In a suit filed in US District Court in Seattle, Nintendo alleges that Nyko’s remote "wholly
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  • Music Suit Against Nintendo Suddenly Dropped
    GameSpot is reporting that a suit against Nintendo for using unauthorized music in its 2004 commercial for “Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door” has been dropped. Morgan Creek Productions
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  • Hot Coffee Just a Tempest in a Teapot?
    Who can forget the infamous Hot Coffee episode from a few years ago, when players found hidden (and adult-oriented) content in Take Two's "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas"? Well, except
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  • GTA Movie Situation
    There have been a number of movies in recent years based on video game properties (e.g, Hitman, Doom, etc.) Even though Take Two's Grand Theft Auto series of games is wildly popular, however,
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  • Minnesota pays ESA $65,000
    The Entertainment Software Association recently received $65,000 in fees and expenses from the state of Minnesota, after the state tried and failed to draft enforceable anti-violence video game legislation
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  • Godfather goes to court
    Paramount Pictures and Electronic Arts released the Godfather game back in 2006. The estate of Mario Puzo (the author of the original books) has now sued for royalties from the video game. Anthony
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  • EA sued re Madden 2006
    In an earlier posting, we reported that the video game industry has seen some huge exclusive agreements, such as EA’s exclusive video game rights to the NFL, NCAA football, and ESPN. We noted
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  • XBOX doesn't violate Alcatel-Lucent Patent
    Microsoft is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief after a jury ruled that the XBOX 360 didn't violate an Alcatel-Lucent patent for coding video frames. On the other hand, the jury also ruled that
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  • Germany becoming even stricter on Violence in Games
    Submitted by Dr. Andreas Lober / Carine Neumüller, LL.M. Germany has been known for strict legislation regarding violence in games for a long time, but recent changes will make live even
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  • Take Two sues the Chicago Transit Authority
    Take Two has sued the Chicago Transit Authority after the CTA removed ads for Grand Theft Auto IV. The CTA's actions appear to have been a response to a Fox News reporter's on-air question
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  • Take-Two: The Hits Just Keep on Coming
    Despite the fact that sales of their flagship franchise are smashing records this week, Take-Two is still embroiled in all kinds of legal troubles. It was recently revealed that another shareholder
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  • "Kölner Dom" in Second Life: Copyright Infringement?
    To the inhabitants of Cologne, their "Dom" is very dear – and legend says that tourists calling the building "Cathedral" have found themselves thrown into the Rhine. So the
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  • Minnesota Video Game Law Not Dead
    If Minnesota's video game legislation were a Monty Python character, right about now it would be saying "I'm getting better ... I think I'll go for a walk." Which is another
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  • Activision Settles Guitar Hero Suit
    Hard to find time to blog, what with the steady torrent of press releases and marketing hype on this GTA IV-eve. Apparently, an ever-growing list of concerned citizens would like to remind you that,
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  • No Bully for Brazil?
    A Brazilian court has ordered that sales of Rockstar's "Bully" game be suspended, apparently on the grounds that any virtual violence that takes place in a virtual school setting is
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  • Arizona game violence law struck
    Earlier this month, Arizona passed a new law that would have made game companies responsible for any felony or violence committed by an individual who was being influenced by dangerous or obscene
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  • Video Game Trade War?
    The governments of Canada and the United Kingdom are engaged in a increasingly heated dispute about the success of the Canadian video game industry. In particular the U.K. government has accused Canadian
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  • Online game ratings in Germany
    Germany is known to have some of the strictest rules for youth protection in computer and video games, which have brought the world interesting features such as green blood. Whilst these are a
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  • Video Game Law Cases and Case Summaries
    We've recently updated our chart of video game law cases. It includes brief summaries of many of the key cases dating back to the 1980s. Check it out here. There's also a link in the right
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  • Sony discloses security breach
    Sony has issued a notice to PLAYSTATION Network users that their personal information on the PLAYSTATION Store may have been compromised. The notice warns that some users’ passwords may have
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  • Legal Battle Joined over WoW Bot
    Vivendi, the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment (the creator of the popular World of Warcraft on-line multiplayer game), has sued the author of a software tool that automates certain in-game
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  • Manhunt 2 Ready for UK Release
    Despite being overturned by the High Court on a “clear error of law”, the UK Video Appeals Committee has reconsidered the ban on Manhunt 2 and once again reversed the decision not to give
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  • Court Upholds Injunction on Minnesota Violent Game Law
    Another Court of Appeal has upheld an injunction against a law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Once again, the absence of proof of harm was the key factor. However, the
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  • If At First You Don't Succeed...
    Sounds like Massachusetts is getting ready to take another crack at banning violent video games, this time by defining violent games as harmful to minors in a manner that mirrors the legal standard
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  • EA Gets Hostile with Take-Two
    The stakes have risen in Electronic Art’s (“EA”) attempt to acquire Take-Two Interactive (“Take-Two”). After having been rebuffed by the management of Take-Two, EA has
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  • Guitar Hero Suit Comes, Goes
    On March 10 Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., filed a lawsuit against Activision for unpaid royalties relating to "Guitar Hero". Harmonix developed the first two "Guitar Hero" games
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