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
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
Last year I gave a lecture at the Gamer Tech Law conference in Seattle with the rather ambitious title of “Going Global: legal and business issues for international games development and distribution”. As you can imagine, that’s a lot to cover – even in a lecture directed at other lawyers. Anyway, below is the lecture… Continue reading An international legal guide to games development and distribution
A long awaited development in UK civil procedure is due to make low value IP infringement claims quicker and cheaper. It is called the small claims track, it will be open for IP infringement cases worth less than £5,000 and it will be heard by the specialist Patents County Court. My friend Rosie Burbidge, a… Continue reading Small UK IP lawsuits get quicker and cheaper (in theory)
The Tetris Company has won a court case against the developer of an iOS Tetris clone – this is a really significant legal development in fighting clones, so I’m quite excited about it. The case is here and is reported on extensively by the 1709 copyright law blog (via Rosie Burbidge – thanks!), which I recommend you read,… Continue reading Tetris wins the first legal victory against clones
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,… Continue reading On piracy
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… Continue reading What does UK IP reform mean for the games industry?
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.… Continue reading The Internet v CD Projekt: a Legal Perspective
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…
Over the weekend I inadvertantly sparked off an interesting debate on Twitter about the clauses in developer employment agreements which transfer ownership of the IP in their work to their employer (which was originally raised in this Ars Technica post). There’s different flavours of this kind of clause of course, from simple clauses that ensure the… Continue reading Should an employer own everything their developers do?