Posts Tagged ‘legal goings on’

Australian Watchdog Takes Valve To Court Over Refunds

By Ben Barrett on September 2nd, 2014.

The concerned look of a man about to eat a flag.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to another legal goings on industry punch up. This time in the red corner, hailing from Seattle and weighing in at approximately several billion pounds, it’s Valve. Meanwhile, in the blue corner, the challenger Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) seeks to do battle on the basis of “misleading consumer guarantee representations” under the 2011 Australian Consumer Law. Specifically, they’re challenging Valve’s no-refunds refund policy. Valve’s response, in a short statement to IGN from VP of marketing Doug Lombardi, is that they are “making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter.” Read on for the details.

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Nobody Wins In The Dictator vs Call of Duty

By Alec Meer on July 17th, 2014.

This was yesterday’s news of course, but it seems too bleakly funny to neglect mentioning here. Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is suing Activision from his jail cell, claiming the use of his name and image as a CODBLOPS 2 baddie is unjust and misrepresentative. While his lawyers do note that “Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes” (as opposed to his all numerous non-fictional heinous crimes)” the nub of the challenge seems to be less hurt feelings and more “creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness.” In other words, filthy lucre. Figures.
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Oi, That’s Mine! Wizards of the Coast Sues Cryptozoic

By Ben Barrett on May 17th, 2014.

All hail me, the king of photoshop. Bad photoshop. That doesn't use Photoshop.

Uh-oh.

It seems like only almost exactly a month since I was musing on the existence of Hex: Shards of Fate and its similarities to Magic: The Gathering. Well, it turns out that a month before that Wizards of the Coast (or, more accurately, their lawyers) were doing a little more than raising an eyebrow. They’ve gone whole hog, taking Cryptozoic and sub-company Hex Entertainment to court for “copyright, patent and trade dress infringement.” To which the wider internet has responded with a mix of “what do those things mean?” and outrage. Essentially, Wizards believe that Hex is too similar to Magic in the way that is looks, functions and plays to be distinct. This comes down to a number of different factors like whether customers will confuse the two brands as well as whether there’s been wholesale nicking of work. Now, I am not a lawyer, nor should I be, however I’ve dug up a few juicy morsels and am more than happy to throw out an opinion or two, which you’ll find below.

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German Court Rules Against Rights To Resell Steam Games

By John Walker on February 10th, 2014.

In a perhaps not too surprising result, the case in Germany brought against Valve that attempted to demonstrate the right to resell Steam games was lost last week. Brought by German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv), this was a second attempt to see a court rule that consumers have the right to resell their Steam games. Like you can with any physical gaming product. And for a second time, the courts ruled against it.

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The Candy Crush Banner Saga Saga: Stoic Speaks Up

By John Walker on January 22nd, 2014.

This afternoon King – owners of Candy Crush Saga and an ever-increasing percentage of the dictionary – issued a statement defending their actions regarding the news that they had filed an opposition to Stoic’s attempts to trademark “The Banner Saga”. A defence that seems odd in the face of what’s actually happening. Especially as they’re arguably attempting to assert a trademark they don’t actually have. Appearing to believe they are the only company allowed to register games with “saga” in the title, King has exercised this by preventing other studios’ efforts to protect their unique game names with their own trademarks.

Yet in King’s statement (below), they make it clear that they don’t believe that Stoic is trying to profit from a similar name, and say they do not wish to prevent Stoic from using the name. A claim that seems, well, rather peculiar given the circumstances, and their appearing to say something quite different in their Opposition. It’s something Stoic have now told RPS they’re not too pleased about either, stating, “We won’t make a Viking saga without the word Saga, and we don’t appreciate anyone telling us we can’t.”

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King ARE Trying To Candy-Crush The Banner Saga

By John Walker on January 22nd, 2014.

Yesterday the internet was alive with the news about King, owners of Candy Crush Saga, their trademarking of the word “Candy”, and their ensuing threats to other developers who are using the word in their game titles. The response from King was to flap their eyelashes and protest innocence – they were only defending the Earth against evil, not liberally chasing anyone and everyone. About that. We’ve seen the document that shows their attempt to go after The Banner Saga.

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EA Suing Zynga Over The Ville, To “Take A Stand”

By John Walker on August 3rd, 2012.

From EA's complaint document.

Update: The memo we saw is now publicly posted here.

EA have announced tonight they’re planning to sue Zynga, over the similarities between the recently released The Ville, and Maxis’ The Sims Social. It’s not the first time that Zynga has released a game that looks astonishingly similar to another company’s game, but it’s the first time they’ve met an opponent big enough to fight back. We’ve seen an internal EA memo that tells staff that while they are pursuing this because they believe they’re legally in the right, they’re also doing it because they believe it’s time to be “taking a stand”. It says that even if they were to lose, “we will have made a point.”

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Crikey: EU Rules You Can Resell Downloaded Games

By John Walker on July 3rd, 2012.

This could get interesting.

Well here’s some pretty huge news. The Court Of Justice of the European Union has just ruled that people should be able to resell downloaded games. In an environment where publishers are trying to destroy basic consumer rights like the ability to resell physical products you’ve paid for, this could be one heck of a turnaround for customers. And that’s no matter what it might say in the EULAs. This could have absolutely enormous implications on how services like Steam, Origin, GamersGate and the like work, and finally restore some rights back to the gamer.

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Thought: Do We Own Our Steam Games?

By John Walker on February 1st, 2012.

I guess I don't own any of these.

What do you own? Looking through my possessions, I feel fairly comfortable that the food in my fridge belongs to me. And I have an odd confidence that the hardware in my PC is mine. But the books on my shelves? I seem to have very little rights over them. The CDs stacked up in a cupboard (remember CDs?) certainly aren’t my property. And the software on my computer may as well be tied to a long piece of elastic, just waiting for the publishers to give it a tug. You own a license. But a license for what? This lack of ownership becomes even more concerning when it comes to the digital space, at which point our rights to anything become extremely ambiguous. And that’s something that can bite you hard on the bum, when places like Steam seem to reserve the right to ban you from your account, and not even tell you why they did it. Below is the story of one RPS reader who says he lost access to his entire Steam collection, and thoughts from game lawyer Jas Purewal on whether we really own any game we buy.

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Infinity Ward Staff Sue Activision For $125m

By John Walker on April 28th, 2010.

A scene outside the courts earlier today.

A while back, on a slow news day, I wrote a spoof story about there being only one man left at Infinity Ward. I’m started to wonder if it was prophecy. The Modern Warfare developers are rapidly running out of employees as more leave, many to join Respawn Entertainment, the new studio started up by former Infinity Ward top dogs, Vince Zampella and Jason West. The total number of IW employees who have now jumped ship or been pushed, at the time of writing, is 28. That leaves 75 remaining. And now things are getting even more strange, with 38 Infinity Warders, calling themselves the Infinity Ward Employee Group, filing a lawsuit against Activision for up to $125 million.

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