Games law update, October 2012

Hi everyone – I’m sorry there’s been a few months gap since the last games law update, but it’s been pretty busy in my personal life and I’m afraid my assiduous squirreling away of useful links for you suffered.  Here’s October 2012 in brief to help make amends…

Mobile:
 
California announces a crackdown on mobile privacy.  Apparently it intends to send ‘hundreds’ of notices to mobile businesses requiring them to comply with CA privacy policy.  Its impact in practice is unclear though since it seems has already done deals with Apple and Google, the major mobile platforms (and presumably by extension their developer ecosystems).  Still, it highlights again the growing assertiveness of US privacy regulators.
 
Apple has issued new guidance regarding promotional apps (also here).
 
Payday lender Wonga had to pull its iOS ads after it emerged that inadvertently they were being displayed on a child-focused game.
 
 
Some interesting research about UK kids’ usage of mobiles and apps
 
LAWSUITS:
 
Zynga settles its lawsuit with Kobojo.
 
Zynga has also sued a former senior employee for breach of confidence following his departure from the compan.
Gaikai has been sued by T5 Labs for alleged patent infringement.
 
Riot Games has won a domain dispute over the bizarrely named web site leagueoflegendsporn.com.
 
Sony has sued an actor, Kevin Butler, for breach of contract over appearing in advertisements promoting a rival games platform.
Ubisoft is suing pop band the Black Eyed Peas for breach of contract relating to an abortive game featuring the band.
 
PlayStation Network hacking lawsuit rejected, Sony cleared of charges – service is not perfect, and users knew this, judge rules.
IP:
 
Amazon got into hot water over allegations that it arbitrarily had banned a consumer’s Amazon account and removed all eBooks associated with it
 
A masterly summary of the history of the European software patent debate.
 
The content industries are taking more Pirate Bay style action against websites
Can a brand owner stop a film, tv, or games studio from using its product in a film, tv show or game?Generally speaking, no.
ADVERTISING:
 
OTHER LEGAL:
 
The ESRB has simplied its rating process for downloadable games.
 
Riot Games has introduced an interesting new player behaviour moderation system which rewards good behaviour with in-game items.
 
The EU Commission has announced an “Action Plan on Online Gambling.
 
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTS:
 
 
More licensing fun: Angry Birds meets Star Wars.
 
Even more licensing fun: Far Cry 3 invades Minecraft.
 
A new Kickstarter record has been set by games company Obsidian, raising nearly $4m in 30 days.
 
The US Supreme Court is hearing the the Wiley v. Kirtsaeng First Sale case at last – a great summary here.
More information about first sale and the games industry here.

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