Category Archives: Course Details and Announcements

“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.


2011 Talk to LSUC Symposium on Convergence 3.0

In April 2011, was very honoured to give the keynote at The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Entertainment & Media Law Symposium – “Convergence 3.0: It’s Here and It’s Happening”. The talk on “The Three Faces of Convergence” was an attempt to reconcile digital media legal issues with observations from my broadcast and sports and operational experiences. Thanks to the Law Society of Upper Canada for generously giving permission for video to become public in this way.

Download the PowerPoint Slides

Download the Paper


Games as Art & Expression Examined.

In “Games Are Not Coffee Mugs Ep#1” Prof. William K. Ford of John Marshall Law School and an expert panel delve into the history of games and legal decisions which did not and then did recognize the expressive aspects of the medium. For additional context check out Nostalgia Critic’s analysis “Are Video Games Art?” and Paola Antonelli’s stirring tale of “Why I brought Pac-Man to MoMA”.


Rutgers Player-Authors Survey One

Prof. Greg Lastowka of Rutgers Law School is conducting a survey on user-generated content practices in video games.  He would greatly appreciate if you could fill out the survey as well as pass it on to others. You will find the survey here:

Greg will be presenting the results of the survey at DiGRA in August and posting them on the Rutgers Player-Authors website at the same time:


Resources Index & Postscript to Class 13

A mash-up of follow-ups.

Promised in our last class to do an index to the Resources section of this site. It is now up and reachable through the main tab on the far right – now renamed “Resources (Index)”. Below that tab other tabs open up which contain the content referenced. Gradually over time, will try to add comments adding context to each resource and explain their relevance to the course.

Among the new posts in Resources is the Ai Weiwei Gangham Style video referenced during the class (under the “International” subtab).

Finally and importantly, Prof. William Fisher’s Copyright Spring 2013: Event 4 on Appropriation Art which took place a few hours after our last class took up one of our key conversations almost where we left off. In particular the points made (especially by Ken) relating to the nature of creative works built on previous works. The Appropriation Art event focused in particular on the well known example of Shepard Fairey’s Obama “Hope” poster lawsuit with AP. It wrestles with challenging aspects of copyright law and frequently harkens to many of the themes of our course.

Video is under Resources – Copyright & IP. Also below for additional convenience: