News of the Week; July 10, 2013

1. Sega claiming $941,000 from THQ over Company of Heroes 2 preorders:

2. Is Hacking Videogame Characters Legal?:

3. Research: Violent Games Do Not Adversely Affect Prosocial Behavior

4. Microsoft patent filing attempts to lock down games with multiple engines running concurrently:

5. Microsoft: Xbox One advertising will integrate with Kinect:

6. Mattrick prepped Zynga buyout while at Microsoft – report:

7. An EVE Revenant Supercarrier downed on combat is the most expensive ship destroyed to date:

8. A Conversation with Paola Antonelli about MoMA’s Video Game Collection:

9. Apple guilty of ebook price fixing, rules federal court:

10. Secret Court’s Redefinition of ‘Relevant’ Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering:

+ The Laws You Can’t See:

+ Supreme Court asked to halt NSA phone surveillance:

+ Is Switzerland turning into a cloud-haven in the wake of Prism scandal?:

11. Author Resale rights in Canadian Copyright Law:

12. Bitcoin tax time?

13. Did Florida Accidentally Ban All Computers and Smartphones?

And in the “too cute” category:

14. The Console Wars Become A Triumphant West Side Story-Style Musical


“i am a gamer” game-jam July 12-14 @ the CDM

This coming weekend my friend and colleague Dr. Kimberly Voll is unleashing the (first annual) “i am a gamer” Game-Jam on our world. The event is committed to creating games with strong female characters and was prompted by a number of industry comments doubting the viability of woman as lead characters in games.

If any of the many worlds theories promulgated by contemporary physicists are correct, we might hope sexist rubbish has long since disappeared in those alternate universes. But in our here and now confronting such nonsense with truth must be the order of the day – or at least the order of this weekend.

The Jam is July 12-14 at the Centre for Digital Media. Sign up @ the website:


Reductio ad absurdem (clown edition)

Not too long ago I was engaging with my academic colleague and professional clown (some of the more witless from my former business lives might ask “is there a difference?”) Patrick Pennefather (

Our topic of choice, as it frequently is, was the inadequacies of intellectual property as a concept, and how those inadequacies are magnified by the uncertainties inherent in legal definitional processes. Patrick, using his company name ‘Design for Humans’, then created the following rather telling diagram for a “patent process claim” to make his point:


A particularly surreal quality of our ensuing email dialogue (which of course also went directly to proving Patrick’s point) emerged when I proposed removing certain logos included in his original work so that the diagram could be publicly posted. Here is how that went:

Jon: “…Just to be safe, can you send me a version with the logos removed?…”

Patrick: “…I can send you without logos but then it’s no longer art:)”

Jon (trying in vain to be witty): “Who is Art?”

Patrick: “art is a friend i once knew currently lost on an island of doubt”


Pretty well says it all on the subject of legal confusion undermining the creative process…


P.S. Patrick’s blog, suitably titled “The Unknown Collaborative Zone” is at

Received a mass mailing note from Ashley O’Toole-Brown and Rachel Kowert announcing the launch of the new DiGRA students website ( asking this be brought to the attention of all students who might be interested in the area.

DIGRA is the Digital Games Research Association and is a point of convergence for all of the academic work being done in and around video games worldwide. Apparently the star of the new website is the new and improved web forums. While this site was built with students in mind (and a user base primarily consisting of students), anyone can participate. There is also an active Facebook community which can be found at as well as a twitter account (@digrastudents).

So join & follow to keep updated on the latest information of interest to students, academics, and professionals under the DiGRA umbrella.



Gamer Technology Law panel on “The Battle of the Living Room”, October 2012

On October 4, 2012 I was privileged to join a panel on “The Battle of the Living Room: Video Game Consoles as Media Centers” at the Law Seminars International 3rd Annual Seattle Conference on Gamer Technology Law. Given that the panel was nine months before the reveals of Sony & Microsoft’s next generation platforms you may find the discussion interesting from todays perspective. Moderating the panel was Kraig Marini-Baker of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and my fellow panellists were Alan Bruggeman of Microsoft and Anoop Desai of Electronic Arts. Sincere thanks to LSI for their permission to post.


News of the Week; July 3, 2013

1. Beyonce Settles $100M Lawsuit With Video Game Company:

2. First Amendment trumps trademark in Call of Duty Case:

3. Antonick v. Electronic Arts (Patent Arcade Update):

4. Texas Teen Could Face Eight Years in Prison for Comments Made in League of Legends

5. Blizzard Bans More Diablo III Players for ‘Cheating’:

6. 10 Business Lessons from the Battlefield: utm_source=slideshow&utm_medium=ssemail&utm_campaign=weekly_digest

7. Consoles must offer self-publishing to attract indies, says Jackbox:

8. How Important Are YouTube Game Videos To Game Companies?:

9. Microsoft explains Xbox One’s new griefer-separating reputation system:

10. Video Games: Seven More Building Blocks in MoMA’s Collection

11. Zynga Hires Xbox Boss to Initiate Turnaround:

12. Ubisoft warns millions of video gamers of hack attack:

13. Bushnell: Atari abused by shareholders:

14. Research: Active Gaming Therapy Beneficial to Stroke Victim Recovery:

15. Oracle v Google update: is refusing copyright protection to application programming interfaces (APIs) the only way to achieve interoperability?:

16. Secret Court Declassifies Yahoo’s Role in Disclosure Fight:

17. NSA surveillance may be legal — but it’s unconstitutional:

18. Choice of Law for Online Copyright Infringement – A Proposal for the Law Applicable to Ubiquitous File Sharing by S.R. Blackman:


News of the Week; June 26, 2013

1. EA’s timing argument thrown out in Madden lawsuit:

2. Appeals court sides with Nintendo in Wii Balance Board patent lawsuit:

3. Long, unhappy post on Hart v. EA:

4. Ellen Page Says The Last Of Us’ Ellie “Ripped Off My Likeness”

5. Naughty Dog accused of swiping Last of Us art:

6. Saints Row IV effectively banned under new Australian rating system:

7. Modern Warfare:

8. XBox 180: Microsoft No Longer Dream the DRM:

9. Big data comes to games. How one company sees the future in personalized play:

10. Canadians Shifting Gaming Addiction from Console to Mobile, Study Says:

11. Watch A Fox Reporter Demolish A Hackneyed Anti-Game Argument

12. Make Me Walk, Make Me Talk, Do Whatever You Please – Barbie and Exceptions by Rebecca Tushnet (Georgetown Law):

13. Indie dev skips PAX citing Penny Arcade artist’s comments:

14. Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society Launches “Cookie Clearinghouse” to Enable User Choice for Online Tracking:

15. German Court Holds Google Responsible for Its Search Suggestions:

16. Recommendation to European Court Favors Google in Privacy Battle:

17. Apple and DOJ release slide decks from closing arguments in ebook trial:

18. And in the “can’t stop laughing” department – Kaplit to Trenk domain name correspondence: