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… Continue reading A practical legal guide to owning your own IP
I just saw an interesting story on Eurogamer: the developer of Darkest Dungeon, a popular new indie game, has hit out at a clearly fake version of its game on the Windows Games Store. The developer is said to have reached out to Microsoft for help. I’m sure they will oblige in due course. I… Continue reading Why DMCA and trademark protection is a no-brainer: the Darkest Dungeon scam
Hotline Miami 2, the forthcoming sequel to the excellent indie game Hotline Miami (note: I wrote that in bold, underline and italics to show how much I mean it), has been denied classification in Australia (another victim of the relatively restrictive local age rating system there). So its developer instead just told Australian fans to pirate the… Continue reading Can you pirate your own video game?
If you haven’t played the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of PC video games, you really should – it’s a glorious first person survival game based in and around a fictional Ukraine where the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded a second time and changed the world around it (it’s based loosely on the excellent Stugatsky brothers’ short science fiction novel, Roadside Picnic).… Continue reading The latest games trademark controversy: S.T.A.L.K.E.R and STALKER
Back in July 2014 I wrote a post about whether a dictator (Manuel Noriega of Panama) could control his online image in a video game (the hit game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2)? We now have an answer: nope. In a short judgment which is interesting for all kinds of reasons, a Californian court has… Continue reading Activision v Noriega analysed: don’t make way for the bad guy
I thought I knew the history of the games industry (especially having read Tristan Donovan’s excellent “Replay: a history of video games“). I also thought I knew a thing or two about interactive entertainment law. However, putting the two together I learned something new the other day: the first ever video game patent was filed… Continue reading Games Law History: the first ever games patent
I just read in Develop that Activision is bringing back its dormant Sierra publishing label. For those who don’t know: Sierra was once a driving force in games development and publishing in the 1980s and 1990s but suffered a long decline into the 2000s, effect shutting down finally by the late Noughties. This made me think… Continue reading Activision resurrects Sierra thanks to good trademark practices
News has broken that Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, is suing Activision on the claim that his name and likeness is used as a supporting character in the latest game in the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty game series, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. In a nutshell: the game is set in the 1980s and… Continue reading Noriega v Activision: can a dictactor control his online image?
We now have some authoritative clarification about the legal status of modchips in the EU for the first time. As longstanding readers of this blog will know, I’ve been writing about modchips for some time. Here’s a quick recap of the latest position. What are modchips? Essentially, a modchip is a technology which permits you to circumvent restrictions… Continue reading Modchips now legal in the EU (as long as they’re not naughty)
This blog (and Gamer/Law generally) represents my personal views, not that of my employer. The games press and sections of the games community has got hot under the collar (again) over trademark law. This time around, it’s about news that King.com, maker of Candy Crush Saga and other games, is seeking to trademark ‘Candy’. Cue lots… Continue reading Some thoughts on game trademarks, King and Candy Crush