Implementing Brexit – what happens next?

Be the first to comment

I hoped I would not have to write this post, but here we go…

Summary

  1. The Brexit referendum does not automatically mean the UK’s departure from the EU, but it will very likely start the process.
  2. Legally, the UK would need to start both an EU exit process (known as ‘Article 50’) and begin its own internal legal arrangements for exit.
  3. This is likely to take some time: at least two years for the formal EU exit and almost certainly several years more in practice for the full process to complete.
  4. Brexit will have a substantial impact on UK laws from employment to business regulation to intellectual property. Some areas, such as contract and corporate law, may be comparatively less affected.
  5. It is very early days yet and there is much still to be established – many businesses will likely adopt a ‘watch and wait’ approach in the short term.

(more…)

Brexit, digital entertainment, tech and why I’m voting Remain

Be the first to comment

It would be against the UK’s interests to vote to leave the European Union: this is my attempt to explain why I believe this and why I will be voting ‘Remain’ on the Brexit referendum on 23rd June 2016.

For those of you who don’t know me: I’m a digital entertainment and tech lawyer with more than a decade of experience working in the UK, continental Europe and Silicon Valley. I advise video games, eSports, digital broadcast and tech businesses from indies and startups to global leaders on UK and EU legal and business matters. I’d like to think I have a pretty fair understanding of the legal and business realities of the UK’s membership of the EU. So, I’m going to focus on legal and policy issues for Brexit, partly because it’s my specialism, but also because there has been relatively little discussion about it and how it would affect the industries I advise. It is not even close to an exhaustive treatise on the topic, it is just my own thoughts a couple of days before the referendum. If you want to hear what the industries themselves think, here’s some links about what tech thinks about Brexit, and what the games industry thinks about Brexit (1, 2) [spoiler: they are all against Brexit]. Here we go… (more…)

Displaying inappropriate ads in a children’s game is a bad idea (but it’ll happen anyway)

1 Comment

Earlier this month, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority issued a ruling against Mobjizz Limited, owner of Ewank.com (an adult services provider) for displaying adult ads in Talking Tom (owned by Outfit7), the popular mobile app that is particularly popular with young children as a kind of game.)  The adult ads apparently involved three nearly naked women.  The complaint was made by the parent of a five year old who saw the ad while playing the app.

Essentially, Mobjizz and Outfit7 said the same thing: they had strict rules in place against this kind of thing but had no idea how this had happened anyway.  Both seemed to suggest that a rogue affiliate (whom they could not identify) may have been involved in serving the ad in breach of their rules.

The ASA, unsurprisingly, upheld the complaint against Mobjizz.  In its usual polite way, the ASA expressed thanks to all parties for cooperating but said that this ad should not be shown in the future, nor generally should Mobjizz show adult ads to children in the future.  As is usual in these kinds of cases in the UK, it seems that the matter will not be pursued further and neither Mobjizz nor Outfit7 will face any penalties or further legal action.

Comment: this is about the third or fourth time that I have come across adult or otherwise inappropriate mobile or online ads being displayed to inappropriate persons, ESPECIALLY violent or adult ads being shown to children.  In each case, the defence by the advertiser, the ad network and the app/game/service is usually that they have rules in place and don’t know how those rules were breached.  In each case, my strong suspicion is that those rules are simply not followed by or enforced against the affiliates or other links in the chain between the advertiser and the actual consumer.  Clearly this is very concerning from both a legal and a consumer standpoint: it simply shouldn’t happen.  However, in the absence of concerted industry self-regulation (of which there is no current prospect) or serious legal claims with substantial enforcement to back them up, I’m afraid I can’t see much of an end in sight.  The best we can hope for is that the apps/games/online services will take more care in picking their advertiser partners in order to avoid this kind of public naming and shaming in the future.

Moral of the story: if you enable ads on your mobile or online app/game/service, pick your advertising partner carefully!  The wrong ad can cause you significant reputational harm and could (but probably won’t) lead to legal action.

Some legal thoughts on Take Two vs the BBC over Grand Theft Auto

Be the first to comment

News broke last week that Take Two, the rights holder to Grand Theft Auto (both as its publisher and as owner of Rockstar Games, its developer), will take legal action against the BBC in the UK over the BBC’s forthcoming TV drama Game Changer – which is all about the story of how Grand Theft Auto was made.  Sorry I’m coming a little late to the party (I was in Sweden speaking at Nordic Game Conference- see separate blog post coming about that).  Anyway, a few folks asked me what I think about this, so here we go. (more…)

The top 10 legal mistakes by games developers

Be the first to comment

I was honoured to give the first talk at Rezzed 2015 in London earlier this month, where I gave a short practical talk about the top 10 legal mistakes that games developers frequently make, why they are mistakes and what to do about them.  Here’s the slides below – enjoy! [Newsletter readers, you can find the slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/jaspurewal/top-10-game-developer-legal-mistakes.]

 

A practical legal guide to owning your own IP

Be the first to comment

One of my most frequently encountered – and important – jobs as a digital entertainment lawyer is to advise on intellectual property ownership: who owns which bits of this great game/software/artwork/video/audio etc? This comes up so often, and from time to time can cause such controversy in the press, that I thought I might write some quick pointers about it, which I hope you’ll find useful.

TL;DR: to make sure you own your stuff, here’s some tips about IP and contract law.  I’ve also given you a free template document, too!

(more…)