Game cloning: recent legal developments

My employer, Osborne Clarke, held its biannual Interactive Entertainment Legal Forum (a networking event and training session for inhouse games lawyers from UK and Europe) last month.  I spoke about the difficult topic of game cloning, non-literal copying and recent legal developments regarding it.  What actually is the law about game cloning in the UK and EU?  Is it right that there’s no real legal recourse for cloning? Continue reading Game cloning: recent legal developments

Games Law Round-Up: January 2012

There’s so much going on these days in games law, I don’t have time to write about everything sadly. So, I thought that every month or so I’d do a round-up of the notable developments.  Here’s the first one – let me know what you think…


It has been a BUSY start to the year in the world of games law.  Here’s the highlights from January, in no particular order:
Continue reading Games Law Round-Up: January 2012

Some thoughts about SOPA

I don’t need to tell you all what the US Stop Online Piracy Act is about, because the Internet has talked about nothing else for the last few days (or at least, those parts of the Internet which haven’t been closed in protest against SOPA). It caused a great, great deal of controversy, far more than the UK’s Digital Economy Act ever did. Now it has been put on ice until “consensus” can be reached. 

This is a short post with some thoughts from me about SOPA.  For anyone who might be in doubt, I was opposed to SOPA, for the reasons I set out below.  That said, I thought it might be helpful to actually read SOPA and give you some legal comments about it.  Here goes…

Continue reading Some thoughts about SOPA

On piracy

About this time last week I wrote the second of my monthly columns on Edge, this time about defending the rights of developers to take legal action against pirates of their games.  You can read it here.  The genesis of the post was me reading about CD Projekt, developer of The Witcher 1 and 2, deciding to take legal action against pirates of its games, as well as some recent appalling statistics published by Torrentfreak about piracy of PC and console games in 2011.  This made me decide to write about two things: (1) my views that the arguments opposing legal action vs pirates aren’t actually that good; and (2) that I feel really sympathetic for developers like CD Projekt and Crytek, whose bottom line has been savaged by piracy.  Anyway, so I wrote the column.  Then the Internet got a bit excited for a day or so.

Gamer/Law’s ten 2012 predictions

You’ve guessed it: I thought I’d jump into the it’s-a-new-year-let’s-make-some-predictions business for 2012.  And, like all forward-looking predictions, I’ve mixed a few safe bets with some slightly more “punchy” predictions (which FYI is lawyer-speak for taking a massive bet on something!)  Here goes, in no particular order:

What does UK IP reform mean for the games industry?

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow lawyer, Jonny Mayner. IP law is pretty important to the games industry, since it governs the stuff that games are (legally) made of. Being a clever IP expert as he is, I thought I’d ask him to explain what the UK government is doing to update IP law… Continue reading What does UK IP reform mean for the games industry?

The Internet v CD Projekt: a Legal Perspective

This is guest post by John Wrigley, a gamer and law student
As a law student and as an enthusiastic gamer, I can’t help but have noticed the recent controversy surrounding CD Projekt. In case you haven’t been following it, the story goes something like this: CD Projekt release The Witcher 2 without any DRM. Some people, as some people inevitably do, pirated it. Now CD Projekt are sending letters to people that they believe have pirated the game demanding a sum somewhere in the region of €750, with the backup threat of a legal suit if the person does not pay up. Many people are quite upset about this, including Mr John Walker at Rock Paper Shotgun, whose recent words on the subject you can find hereand here. This post attempts to offer an insight into the legal position behind the events. What this article isn’t about is creating solutions or settling the debate, its purpose is solely to try and raise awareness of the legal doings and beings and to maybe try to challenge some of the common misunterstandings about the way the law works.

The Scrolls lawsuit: Mojang 1, Bethesda 0?

Bethesda has failed in an attempt to obtain an interim injunction against Mojang over its use of thephrase ‘Scrolls’ in its forthcoming eponymous game (via Gamesindustry.biz and tweets from Notch).  But previous lawsuit experience from Bethesda suggests the battle *may* not be over…

Continue reading The Scrolls lawsuit: Mojang 1, Bethesda 0?

IP Round-up: Newzbin 2, Copyright Infringement and Stormtroopers

This is a post from Jonny Mayner with additional input from Jas Purewal.  The Star Wars’ theme to the post is the fault/genius of Jonny (depending on how you feel about Star Wars, ofc).

This is a quick post looking back on some high profile IP cases in the UK on which we saw rulings in the first half of this year.  Read on for a brief round-up of what the cases were about and how they’re relevant to games and tech. Continue reading IP Round-up: Newzbin 2, Copyright Infringement and Stormtroopers