Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NY Bill Attempts to Make Felony of Selling Violent Video Games to Minors

Once again, a state government has tried to legislate on the sale of video games to minors, this time, its NY. They propose felony charges for anyone who sells a game to a minor featuring "depraved violence and indecent images." Depraved violence is further defined as, "rape, dismemberment, physical torture, mutilation or evisceration of a human being." I do not know what the deal is with these state governments, but apparently, they do not look at what other states have done. All previous attempts at legislation like this have been struck down in federal court as unconstitutional for violating the 1st amendment. See Illinois entry below: I wonder if this one will cost a million bucks too? Also, the bill mandates parental controls by 2009 on all consoles, but does not specify about hand-helds or PCs. However, this seems superfluous since all next-gen systems already have parental controls in place...hmm...I guess they do not look around

Will this one be upheld?

With all these attempts at regulation, I cannot tell if the governments are trying to scapegoat, or whether there are actually legitimate concerns about these issues in the population? It seems like political maneuvering to me, but with so many different states trying to accomplish the same unconstitutional objective, maybe there are more Jack Thompsons out there than previously thought.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blizzard Sues Gold Farmers for Spamming

Blizzard instituted an action in Federal courts seeking at least injunctive relief from Peons4hire, a gold farming service notorious for spamming gamers in-world with advertisements for cheap gold. Player response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Peons4hire are about to become unemployed4hire

I doubt that this gold farming operation has the resources to challenge Blizzard, but it will be interesting to see how this case comes out from a virtual property perspective. Will Blizzard attack them for their violations of terms of service regarding the acquisition and sale of its virtual property? or only for spamming in game? If they do not go after the farming itself, will that imply that they condone it? Or, do they just know that as long as there is demand, there will always be farmers...

Ironically, right next to this story is an ad for WoW Cheap Gold...WoW!

Failed Illinois Legislation Costs Government $1 Million...Really?

Really, Governor Blagojevich, spending a million dollars between lawyers fees and awards for your failed video game legislation and its subsequent litigation, really? Talk about blowing it:

Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money Legislators!

Can't say I'm sorry he lost.

ESA Joins New Copyright Alliance

ESA has joined forces with other heavy-hitting copyright owners, including the MPAA, RIAA, Disney, Microsoft, Major League Baseball, and 23 others, to form an alliance to protect copyrights. While there mission is "promoting the value of copyright as an agent for creativity, jobs and growth,” my guess is that they will just lobby and enforce copyrights collectively.

So if they are the Alliance, are infringers the Copyright Horde?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

News Flash: Trademark Infringement Rampant in Second Life

While not big news to anybody who has set foot in the virtual realm, Virtually Blind reports on the large amount of trademark infringement taking place in Second Life each day. He calculates over $2,000,000 in transactions involving unauthorized trademark use each year, and obviously this number will continue to grow. There is a good amount of statistical information in the article as well as good reasons for companies to begin enforcing these rights.

Trademarks Shademarks

More than anything, the companies should move to protect their rights so that they do not implicitly give them up by not enforcing them. If infringement becomes common practice, it will be much harder to enforce these rights in the future. However, the dilutive effects (consumers being confused about the source of the produce) may not be severe until years from now. Will it be too late?

WeeWorld's Case Dropped Without Prejudice

As reported on earlier, WeeWorld had two pending cases: one in Europe and one in the US. They tried to drop the complaint in the US to focus on the European suit, but Nintendo would not let them drop the case "without prejudice," insisting that the complaint should be removed with no possibility of appeal. Apparently, Nintendo relented, and allowed WeeWorld to drop the case for now, but leave it open for appeal in the future.

Nintendo Bros WeeWorld

Friday, May 4, 2007

Texas High School Student Transferred for Creating CS Map of School

School board officials have decided to transfer a student in Sugar Land, Texas after it was discovered that he created a Counter-Strike map of his high school. After a search at his house turned up five (decorative?) swords, the school board labeled the situation a "level 3," which means the student "engage[d] in conduct relating to a false alarm or report (including a bomb threat) or a terroristic threat involving a public school."

Don't Make Counter-Strike Maps of your High School Fool!

I think this is an overreaction of the school board, but jeez, some kids are so clueless.