About £34 million worth.
A few days ago, there was an interesting ruling in the Triple Town / Yeti Town game cloning case, a.k.a. Spry Fox, LLC v. Lolapps, Inc. Triple Town and Yeti Town are both casual puzzle apps where tile elements are assembled and evolve. Spry Fox had sought to license the game to the defendants, but the defendants pursued a cloning strategy instead. The litigation presents roughly the same sorts of legal issues as the current EA/Zynga dispute and the recent Tetris clone decision.
This particular case has been talked up pretty extensively in the blogosphere over the last year. For instance, James Grimmelmann had some thoughts about the early stages of the litigation and game cloning generally:
"if Triple Town flops on the iPhone because Yeti Town eats its lunch, at some point Dave and his colleagues won't be able to afford to spend their time writing games any more."
Eric Goldman weighed in yesterday on this new ruling, connecting it to the EA litigation:
"The Triple Town ruling suggests that Zynga probably can’t score a quick win."
In the latest Social Change Technology podcast Dr Burcu Bakioglu talks to Andrea Phillips about Alternate Reality games, their design and some of the interesting legal and ethical issues that come up.
Those in the TN community that have been watching / making / playing ARGs for the last few years will be familiar with some of the issues - such as what if someone gets hurt, how far can a 'fiction' go before it is deception?
While some of the issues raised in the podcast are specific to games that have a very physical element and a fictional layer that sits over the everyday - still raise interesting questions about the ethics of game design and what responsibility the designer has for the players' actions.
You can listen to the podcast and see the full show notes on the Virtual Policy Network site.
The UK is considering a set of laws that give consumers rights over the providers of digital stuff. These new consumer rights will blow a hole through EULAs and side step a whole mess of intellectual property law. All UK consumers of ‘digital content’ would have these rights irrespective of where it’s provided from, the rights cannot be contracted out of, and the remedies apply to content providers where ever they are.
In short, if you are a game company based anywhere selling to the UK - you need to pay attention.
Since 2007, by Game Industry Promotion Act and its implementing decree, S. Koreans should not do business for exchanging or mediating exchanges of, and repurchasing in-game money or data like in-game items that are produced or obtained by copying, adapting, and hacking the game program or by way of abnormal game-play.
The word of 'by way of abnormal game-play' has been generally understood as 'using Bots in game', and many sweatshop owners and RMT dealers who broke the law were punished.
On the other hand, Supreme Court of S. Korea ruled that RMT itself is not totally banned by this act in the sphere of MMORPGs where in-game items are basically obtained by sweat, not by luck. So, RMT dealers can buy and sell in-game items as far as those are produced and obtained by normal play.
In summary - human play : normal(OK) vs. Bot play : abnormal(banned).
But, practically, it's not that easy to tell Bot play from human play. Korean government have been worrying about the growth of the grey market of RMT and the crime related to this. Government agency assumes that 60% of RMT in korea were unhealthy one.
To cope with this matter, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism just now amended the implementing decree. Next july, the revised implementing decree will be effective. This time, Korean government enlarges the scope/depth of the word 'abnormal'.
Using the others personal information & Doing for a business also belong to the scope of 'abnormal'.
In summary - amateur play : normal vs. pro play : abnormal
(Probably the first 21th century law that is Johan Huizinga's Magic Circle graven on)
According to korean Value Added Tax act, anybody who supplies goods or services for business and earns more than 12,000,000 won in 6 months should register as "enterpreneur". Enterpreneur shall be liable to pay VAT. This new Implementing Decree do not permit game player be the enterpreneur of VAT act.
This is the end of my brief introduction to the new game law of S. Korea on RMT.
For me, it seems somewhat odd and interesting that Korea recently enacted another law called E-sports Promotion Act. The definition of E-sports is 'through the medium of games, human compete for the record, or win the game against human'. Of course, Main purpose of this act is to assist pro-gamer who play StarCraft, Dungeon & Fighter etc for a living.
Earning REAL money from the inferno be banned, while from the space is not.
Former relating posts.
I'm thinking about a paper for a conference on ethics and games being set up by Harry Brown this October, and I'd like to kick out a concept (about which I know nothing, so it fits here) to see what your reaction is (if any): Maturity. I'm getting older and older, you see, and online shenanigans seem to be losing significance. Once thrilling, then annoying, now boring. What's happening?
Maybe it has nothing to do with age; maybe it's a stance with respect to goofing off that changes often according to circumstance, even if there is a general trend such that older people lose interest. What's your Sophomoric Stance? When Mia gave us all those neat examples about cheating, did you feel outrage, or titillation? Or maybe you just rolled your eyes and muttered, "Kids."
I feel this urge to challenge what seems to be a standard analysis of online transgression, in which transgression is either celebrated as significant revolution or vilified as significant crime. I'm not concerned about the revolution or crime part, but the significance.
Producers and users of virtual spaces are heading toward difficult times. These could be made worse through increased regulatory intervention by various countries. I suggest that it is in the best interest of users, produces and nation states alike that those online service providers that use virtual items and currency form self-regulatory body. I suggest further that sport provides a ready-made governance model that the online industry should adapt and adopt.
I thus propose the formation of an: Online Dispute Arbitration Board (ODAB)*
*An academic treatment of this was first presented at The Game Behind the Game by myself and Dr Melissa deZwart.
I’ve been trying to get as close to source as I can in the case of the ‘theft’ of virtual poker chips. According to a local news paper court report the chargers were in fact:
41 other offences were taken into consideration.
So, he was not charged with theft.
But, it is certainly the first time I’ve heard of ‘converting criminal property’ being applied in an English case relating to virtual items of this type.
The case is No. T20100391 at Exeter Crown Court should anyone have access to relevant listings, failing that I'll update when the summary is up on The Law Pages.
Legal commentators in the blogosphere (e.g. Nic Suzor, Technollama, Rebecca Tushnet, Venkat & Eric) have already offered some initial thoughts on the Ninth Circuit decision in MDY v. Blizzard. Since I talked about the district court opinion in this case in Chapter 9 of my book, I thought I'd post a few reactions too.
This post is going to be a bit on the long side, but that's only because the issues raised on this appeal are a bit tricky, meaning that I feel the need to lay a little doctrinal groundwork before getting to my thoughts about the case.
Though there was an interesting tortious interference decision in the appeal, I'm going to focus on the two copyright issues that were decided by the Ninth Circuit, one involving a claim that users of MDY's Glider program breached World of Warcraft (WoW)'s software license and the other claiming that users of MDY's Glider program violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)'s prohibitions on circumventing technological protection measures that limit access to copyrighted works. This second claim focused on the operation of Blizzard's Warden program, which monitors a player's computer to see if it is running any unauthorized software.
The appellate court essentially found in favor of MDY on the licensing issue, reversing the lower court, and in favor of Blizzard on the DMCA-Warden issue, affirming the lower court. That adds up to a win for Blizzard. That win could be reversed, in theory, if MDY pursues further appeals. An en banc review of the Ninth Circuit is possible and there's always the slim chance of getting the case reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.
I have just posted a (rough) draft of my latest paper, entitled Avatar Experimentation: Human Subjects Research in Virtual Worlds to SSRN. Virtual worlds make such great research testbeds precisely because people act in a lot of ways (especially economic ways) as if the virtual world were real. But that complicates ethical research design: you can't engage in activities that threaten the subject's digital property or community, for example. This raises human subjects research issues that a lot of Institutional Review Boards may not immediately take into consideration. Here's the abstract -- but the important part is that this is still a work-in-progress (it's coming out in a symposium issue of the U.C. Irvine Law Review next year), and I would love comments or suggestions. Abstract after the leap.
The School of Communication and Information at Rutgers is planning a major conference to be held April 8-9, 2011. The conference will cover the cultural, business, legal, and artistic aspects of the videogame and virtual worlds industries -- pretty much everything practical and academic about gaming. If you'd like to spend a couple of days conversing with other folks who think seriously about gamers and the video game industry, please consider submitting to the Call for Papers, which can be found here: http://bit.ly/gbgcall (Deadline for 500-word abstract = Dec. 15th.)
For more information about the conference see this link: http://bit.ly/gamebehindgame
More details about the sorts of topics we're looking to explore below the fold:
So as promised, here's the book: http://bit.ly/virtualjustice
That link points to a 2.5 MB PDF that is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial. I'm hoping to get a cleaner copy at some point soon--if I do, it will be posted at the same location. I got a MUCH better copy as of noon on 11/3/10 and it is now posted at the above link.
If you prefer wood pulp, this is the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/virtual-justice
On Friday September 17th, a coalition of 82 scholars in the social sciences, medical sciences and media effects filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Schwarzenegger v EMA. This case refers to a California law which seeks to ban the sale of "violent" games to minors, effectively carving out new limitations to the First Amendment (no other form of "violent" entertainment is regulated by the government in such a way). The scholars' amicus brief specifically addresses the scientific merits of the case California puts forth and finds them without support in currently available data.
User thoreau (thanks!) notes this story about a man suing NCSoft over the hours he poured into Lineage II. The company argued that he abandoned his right to sue by signing the EULA. The Court disagreed.
What does it mean?
From Bryan Camp (thanks Bryan!) comes this notice of a legal ruling against an internet-based church. The ruling denies the group's status as a church, saying that it does not meet the standard of association because it does not hold regular meetings. The court decides instead that live-streamed sermons on the internet are primarily about information dissemination, not communion.
My church agrees: "Virtual reality is no substitute for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, and shared worship in a flesh-and-blood human community. There are no sacraments on the Internet; and even the religious experiences possible there by the grace of God are insufficient apart from real-world interaction with other persons of faith."
Professor Camp wonders, what if the church was in Second Life?
What is association? What is communion? Does a virtual meeting accomplish one and not the other? Does the dimensionality of the space matter? Why does the body matter, especially when it comes to religion?
About two weeks ago, I told Ren that I'd write up a post about the Stern v. Sony decision, which was issued early last month. This is a case where a federal court essentially answered the title question of this post. The answer, at least according to this particular court, is "no."
* This post is a correspondence to Ted's recent post 'SCOSK Legalized RMT'
Supreme Court of South Korea just interpreted game industry promotion act that I introduced in my old posting on Terra Nova: "Selective bombing of RMT in Korea" legaly literally.
By the law and its implementing decree, in-game money banned for trading should be gained either by luck or thru illegal/abnormal play. In this case, what the accused resellers bought and sold were Aden, a virtual currency created and circulated in Lineage(a famous Korean MMORPG since 1998, its EULA rules out RMT of Aden). And throughout the trial, there were no evidence shown to prove those resellers bought the money from Bot-using sweatshops or hackers.
Therefore, the critical point of the case was whether Aden is money of luck game to be banned or not. Public prosecutor asserted that attribute of Lineage is also a game of luck like a poker game, even though the former is less clear than the latter. 1st tier court judge found it guilty, but did not mention clearly about reasoning in the ruling.
The appellate court overruled the decision and explained that Lineage is game of sweat, not a game of luck, considering that it takes lots of time and effort to get Aden by hunting & Aden can be earned not only thru hunting but also thru PVP combat and P2P market in lineage world. So appellate court acquitted the resellers from the conviction for violation of game law. Finally, on Christmas eve last year, SCOSK confirmed appellate court's ruling.
I agree with Greg in that SCOSK's ruling itself does not mean total legalization of RMT. Definitely, The game industry promotion act in S. Korea selectively command to bomb the RMT of cyber cash of luck game and illegally/abnormally taken virtual money. Cause, the aim of game law is to protect 'Game' from 'Gambling'. Of course, it's not easy to detect and make a proof for selection. After the SCOSK's decision, korean authority announced its endeavor to ban abnormal RMT must go on.
Yes, right now, there's no change in this long gray colored clouds even in S. Korea and the EULA of NCsoft will (if the company want to) survive though somewhat depowered. But I think, some day, this decision opens the way of rainbow and new world to evolve into. In S. Korea, where the Second Life was serviced as RMT castrated and now withdrawn from, If SCOSK decided to the contrary, and extended the word of game law to Lineage-like virtual world, then, Grabbing with the dead bodies of RMT intermediaries, looking over dying Bots, Koreans will never imagine and meet in EVE online -like, Second Life -like, and There-like futuredoms.
Today, I come into find out & read Andrew Herman, Rosemary J. Coombe & Lewis Kaye's article titled as "YOUR SECOND LIFE? Goodwill and perfomativity of intellectual property in online digital gaming" from virtual law bibliography in Lawspot online.
This article deals with the governance issue of VW(eg. SL), the key tool for argument is not an exclusive proprietary one such as IP or VP but -- to my delight-- an inclusive one, corporate goodwill.
With regard to this, I tell you I registered an article on SSRN recently.
Real Money Trading in MMORPG items from a Legal and Policy perspective
It was originally presented at 13. Dec. 2004 in Future Game Seminar held by Korea Game Development & Promotion Institute. By virtue of professor Yee Fen Lim and lawyer Nicholas Suzor's encouragement and assistance, I could published it in complete english version.
My article deals with the RMT issues of VW(eg. Lineage), and the key tool is Gwonri-geum(a korean legal concept similar to goodwill, strictly speaking, more akin to that of 'lease goodwill' in England, Austrailia).
*Nic Suzor thankfully made a nice abstract of the article, you can read it here
My paper, same to that of Andew Herman at al, centers on the creation and management of goodwill, an intangible asset of considerable value to VW itself based on affective bonds between players, MMO platform operators, and their commodities in the marketplace. (Differences are, i approached in micro level with economic's support, while they did in macro level with communication & cultural studies)
I hope recalling these two goodwill be an international goodwill, then help in concluding a peace treaty between properties(IP v. VP), and carve out the identity of VW & its virtue.
The EFF's Fred von Lohmann just sent round a note on an email list about the summary judgment briefs in the WoW Glider case. I've mirrored the briefs here and here for those who are interested, and below the fold I'm gonna engage in rampant copyright infringement by reposting all of Fred's message. He sums it up too well to bother trying to explain any better, and I'm sure that he'll forgive the infringement...
When I visited mid January 2008 a technology crime police team in
Amsterdam, they told me about the internet related issues they were
struggling with. One issue was related to the physical location of a server.
They said to have permission to open
someone’s mail box
only if the servers are physically located in the Netherlands.
In any other case they needed permission from the “hosting” state.
Yahoo-mailbox showed an unread e-mail with a subject that
seemed highly relevant for the case. Not looking at this e-mail
because the mail is hosted in the US seems to me an
unjust territorialisation of the internet.
How should this policy be applied to virtual words?
Farnaz Alemi, an associate at the law firm of Latham & Watkins, has just published a piece in UCLA J. of Law & Tech. about the resolution of disputes within (and without) VWs. From the abstract:
"Though the real world is attempting to recognize in-game property rights to provide relief, it is not the viable solution some may think. As this paper demonstrates, parties face major obstacles in the real world attempting to resolve in-game disputes. Thus, I have proposed a two-tiered justice system: the In-Game Justice System (the "IGJ") and the Real World Justice System (the "RWJ") to provide a potential means of resolving in-game disputes using various real world theories of law and judicial proceedings. More importantly, real world courts would now be sought as a venue of last resort if an aggrieving player pierces the virtual veil (the "PVV"). This proposal intends to provide justice and relief to victims of virtual worlds, and hopefully a means towards understanding the interplay between the virtual world and the real world."
State of Play V, from immaculate Singapore, kicked off this morning with a panel on "Building Businesses in Virtual Worlds." As I write I'm listening as the panel wraps up, with the panelists -- all involved in business development companies that focus to some extent on virtual worlds -- taking questions from the audience. But continuing to resonate in my mind is a phrase that panel participant Ken Brady of Centric used in his remarks to characterize what businesses should aim for in virtual worlds moving forward: "sustainable branding." This idea was echoed by the others on the panel as the discussion progressed, and to me this should prompt us to continue to think about the current era of virtual worlds as one that is beginning to be defined less by the relationship between their makers and their users (as individuals or nascent groups), and more by the expansion (one might even say colonization) of them by both emergent and pre-existing institutions.
Linden Lab has recently changed their policy about gambling in Second Life, effectively banning it (find a clutch of news reports here). The specific demands, in terms of policy and regulation, that gambling and other significant-stakes gaming make on virtual worlds have drawn my attention on TN before. Here I'd like to ask TN-at-large the following: What do you think the effects of this policy are likely to be on SL? On virtual worlds in general (if any)?
Why do we let contracts govern virtual communities? Contracts are private law. Communities need public law. Contracts are about helping two (or a few) people negotiate their preferences. Communities are large numbers of people, who shift in and out of the community, and really don't have time for all that negotiation. For communities to really thrive, as Greg Lastowka remarked to me recently, "we need to get beyond the EULA." So I wrote an article about it.
Ted's Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University convened the second Ludium Conference this past weekend in Bloomington. Attendees were charged with hammering out a well-considered platform to guide virtual world policy. We were successful, and the Declaration of Virtual World Policy [Edit: along with its wiki] has been posted by the conference's designers, Studio Cypher. Here it is for your perusal and comment (along with more details):
Many many legal happenings on virtual property and assets. First off, the judge in the Bragg v Linden case has dismissed Linden's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and Motion to Compel Arbitration. Lots to say about this Order, but I need some time to digest it. Also, a South Florida law firm has brought a consumer class action on behalf of US WoW subscribers against IGE for their gold farming activities. Much to be said here in a bit.
The highpoint of my brief reading to date is the opening paragraph of the Order in the Bragg case:
This case is about virtual property maintained on a virtual world on the Internet. Plaintiff, March Bragg, Esq., claims an ownership interest in such virtual property. Bragg contends that Defendants, the operators of the virtual world, unlawfully confiscated his virtual property and denied him access to their virtual world. Ultimately at issue in this case are the novel questions of what rights and obligations grow out of the relationship between the owner and creator of a virtual world and its resident-customers. While the property and the world where it is found are "virtual," the dispute is real.
On wednesday in S. Korea, the RMTing of the game money, game items in Poker-like MOGs and the RMTing of game money, game items produced by the illegal way of copying, adaptating, hacking or abnomal game-play in MMOGs are banned by the Game Industry Promotion Act.
The word 'abnormal play' is surely relating to some workshops whrere BOT programs facilitated.
Meanwhile, in the sphere of MMOGs, RMTing of game money etc earned by normal play remains out of govermental regulation(except the possibility of taxing). So there are worries about how to distingush between normal and abnormal one. I humbly think the underlined object of those articles is not to suppress illegal workshop overseas directly but to check/prevent native intermediaries from connecting with the workshops.
Belows is former TN post with reference to the act.
And here are the extract of the act that I translated personaly & informally.
At the State of Play/Terra Nova Symposium in New York last fall, Bryan Camp of Texas Tech School of Law gave us a primer on tax law as it relates to virtual worlds. I never knew that listening to a tax professor could be so illuminating and fun (really). Now he has written a paper giving a similarly engaging overview of the issues as they relate to SL and WoW.
And to think his elegant solution may be ruined by pizza...
The online journal First Monday has just published their 7th special issue, Command Lines: The Emergence of Governance in Global Cyberspace, wherein you will find a number of articles by current and former Terra Novans, including Ted, Richard, T L Taylor, and me. (NB: the articles are appearing in three sets over three months; the complete list of them is at the link.)
The special issue (edited by Sandra Braman and me) grew out of the Command Lines conference at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (sponsored by its Center for International Education), where we brought together a number of people interested in governance online. In many ways I saw it as a chance for scholars of virtual worlds to contribute their unique perspective to a broader conversation, and the conference was a tremendous success. Anyone interested in how to make sense of the moving target that is governance in and beyond virtual worlds is encouraged to dive in.
"We are pleased to announce the completion of a Convention for the Protection of Virtual Architectural Heritage. This document seeks to lay a foundation for the conservation of our 'virtual architecture', the environments and places that make up the synthetic worlds of video games. More commonly referred to as 'levels', 'maps' or 'worlds', these environments are the stage for players' experiences in video games. Unfortunately, little has been done to protect, catalogue and analyze these game spaces, but such conservation is necessary in order to provide reference material for study. The goal of the Convention is to provide a framework for this vital preservation work, and to encourage further academic study of the principles of level design and the architecture of synthetic worlds."
Instructions: this question is compulsory. It is worth 25 points. You should not spend more than 2 days on this question. Write legibly or points will be deducted. Answers including references to postmodernism will be ruthelessly penalized.
"Many of you students have forsaken your MMOG of choice in order (temporarily) to play Oblivion. Oblivion now allows you to buy armor kits for your horse using real world currencies, in a way that is almost exactly the same as real money trades (RMTs) which have been occuring in MMOGs for years. In 1000 words or less, discuss whether either of these types of assets are property for the purposes of any legal systems, paying particular attention to why few people would think that the Oblivion armor kits are property, but the same is not true for virtual assets."
The Canadian Red Cross wants game developers to stop using the Red Cross logo in games, claiming trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and playing the "support the troops" card by suggesting that use of a red cross in games removes the “protective value” of the mark in real war zones. No, I'm not making this up. I wish I were. The Vancouver Sun quotes David Pratt, the international issues director of the Canadian Red Cross:
We haven't just been talking on the Terra Nova backchannel about the evil or lack thereof of the Horde, but also of our visceral personal reactions to the social psychology and symbolic content of gameplay in synthetic worlds. I've lately been revealed to my TN colleagues as, well, something of a powergamer in World of Warcraft (though, cough, fellow Terra Novan Joshua Fairfield has me beat all hollow). I've been reflecting about that development some, because it's never been my orientation in any previous game of this kind, even back into my pen-and-paper prehistory. There's no doubt that the relatively friendly levelling curve and design of World of Warcraft is what has allowed me to develop this posture in the game, of course. Old-school powergamers laugh at the idea that anything in WoW could be regarded as such. But I'm still thinking about what I've learned through this experience in terms of my larger analysis of synthetic worlds.
Marvel, NCsoft and Crytpic have settled the "City of Heroes" lawsuit. As always the settlement is "amicable" and it clears the way for both parties "to develop and sell exciting and innovative products" and yada yada yada.
I guess this is hardly surprising, and no doubt in the parties' best interests. But law academics always feel a little let down when there is nothing to point to by way of a precedent or policy pronouncement. And this case was really significant because it exposed the faultlines of intellectual property protection in this space, and made a number of people recognize that there is a significant issue in the way that we express ourselves within MOGs/VWs.
But enough of my mewlings.
Hand me some more eggnog.
Summary over the fold and here is the press release.
Update: 7:54pm Story here by Daniel Terdiman, quoting all manner of notables, but none so notable as our very own G. Lastowka Esq. As Greg says: "... Marvel's claims of player infringement have not been formally rejected by the court, which means analogous claims might be pursued by Marvel, or a like-minded company, in the future."
Joshua de Larios-Heiman, who recently graduated from University of San Francisco School of Law, wrote a piece about virtual currency and some of the legal implications. It's called "Can Elvish Gold Pieces Ever Become Real Money? The Numismatic Qualities of Virtual Currency Under the Law". From the abstract:
"This essay addresses whether virtual currency, the medium of exchange used in the economies of massive multiplayer online games, can ever be imputed to be real money under American law. Part I defines the basic concepts surrounding virtual property and virtual currency. Part II focuses on the application of American commercial law to virtual currency, examines whether virtual currency should be construed by courts to be real money, and looks at pubic policy concerns of making such a determination. Part III examines virtual currency under existing Federal criminal law and focuses specifically on how the Money Laundering Control Act, 18 U.S.C.A. 1956, applies to virtual currency. Finally this essay summarizes the arguments presented and concludes that in specific situations, virtual currency should be imputed to be real money under the law. "
His advisor on this was cyber law professor Susan Freiwald who, I'm delighted to say, used to work in my department. (Indeed, I owe my job to her: had she not seen the light and moved to San Francisco I wouldn't be here). Oh, and prior to law school Josh had a career in securities where he created the world’s first financial superhero. You can read his comics here. The mind boggles.
Kolby Granville, a law student at Arizona State with an interest in MMOGs and a reader of TN, made an observation off-blog that is worth sharing:
" I was surprised that I was unable to find a reference to a thread discussing Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition 535 U.S. 234, 122 S.Ct. 1389 (2002). Considering that so often when people talk about the "magic circle" and the need to keep laws out of games someone stands up and says, "but what about for child porn!"
In fact, I even remember at State of Play III during one of the panels someone mentioning, "What if we had a game where the point of the game was to lure virtual children, naturally the law would want to prevent that..." (Richard Bartle)
However, in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition the court seems to say that may be permitted (at least via my cursory reading).
Perhaps this case is not discussed on the site because it was pre-site creation. Maybe the case was just interesting to me. Just wanted to point it out."
The Supreme Court decision on this can be found here. It concerns the constitutionality of a statute regulating "virtual" child pornography.
Today must be my day for catching up on reading (which is about all I'm good for today, having spent waaaay too much time instance-raiding recently).
Anyway, I'm delighted to be able to recommend another essay, this time by Andy Schwarz and Robert Bullis. It's called Rivalrous Consumption and the Boundaries of Copyright Law: Intellectual Property Lessons from Online Games..
Don't let the title put you off (law review essays always have dull titles--it's mandatory). It's about the implications of the easy-to-understand-but-absolutely-vital economic concept of rivalrous and non-rivalrous consumption, ie when the use of a good by one person precludes / doesn't preclude use by another. This has emerged as one of the most significant basis for criticism of the current intellectual property system, but hasn't been sufficiently examined in MMOGs before.[fn1] The paper outlines some of the implications for viewing virtual assets as rivalrous or non-rivalrous goods.
It also has a section on antitrust (ie anti-competitive) implications of EULAs inter alia, which is sure to raise some eyebrows and put some noses out of joint.
The opening paragraph is over the fold, and defines the scope pretty well:
Games that surface an agenda stick out. A case in point is the new mobile game Airport Insecurity by Persuasive Games. Works that have government backing stick out still further. A couple of years ago America’s Army was the hot topic. So it should come as no surprise after the recent coverage of gaming in China that the Chinese government would want to get in on the act too. Step forward (or is that march forward) Chinese Hero Registry a Virtual World that the blogshpere suggests is planned to be developed by Shanda on behalf of the Chinese government.
IP Funny reports on Nintendo's filing of patent for a "video game and game system incorporating a game character's sanity level that is affected by occurrences in the game such as encountering a game creature or gruesome situation." From the abstract:
A video game and game system incorporating a game character's sanity level that is affected by occurrences in the game such as encountering a game creature or gruesome situation. A character's sanity level is modified by an amount determined based on a character reaction to the occurrence such as taking a rest or slowing game progress and/or an amount of character preparation. That is, if a character is prepared for the particular occurrence, the occurrence may have little or no affect [sic] on the character's sanity level. As the character's sanity level decreases, game play is effected [sic] such as by controlling game effects, audio effects, creating hallucinations and the like. In this context. the same game can be played differently each time it is played.
More later. Under water here.