Friday, August 29, 2008

ESA Applauds the Capture of Pirates

The ESA would like to give a shout out to the justice system for actually catching some software pirates. Both of these criminals were found guilty of criminal copyright infringement for their extensive pirating practices. Kifah Maswadi, a distributor of consoles with 70 Nintendo games pre-loaded, got "fifteen months in prison, three years of supervised release, and fifty hours of community service, and must pay $415,900 in restitution." Bam! Kevin Fuchs, a key figure in certain warez sites, got eight months in prison, and eight months of home confinement. Still Bam!, (but not as much).

Yar! Me Ships Going Down

It is good to see that the targets of these federal investigations are not average joe six-chips, but legitimately harmful targets: like targeting the drug lords and not the poor man on the street just trying to get by...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hillcrest Labs Sues Nintendo Over Waggle Technology

Oh, Nintendo...sued again....This is time, it is Hillcrest Labs, claiming that the Wii's motion sensing and graphical interface technology infringes on their patents. HL licenses it technology to other peripheral manufacturers, like Logitech, but did not fully disclose its licensing arrangements. As of the time of the story, Nintendo had not been served.

Hey Nintendo! Waggle This!

Once again, patent law is reprimanding the "innovator" for video games. Hillcrest may have valid patents, but it is so suspect how these companies wait years to file suit, after the big N has already made a ton of money. Coincidence? I think not...will the patent thicket ever be trimmed?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Game File-Sharer Ordered to Pay

The UK Patent Courts have ordered a British woman to pay about 16,000 pounds (approx. $30k) for illegally sharing games over the internet. The woman is paying Topware, makers of Dream Pinball 3D, for her copyright infringement of their protected work. Some believe this could be a landmark case in the VG industry's fight to control piracy.

Not Just Music Anymore!

It will be interesting to see if the industry will begin targeting file sharers a la the music industry. Personally, I do not think it is a great idea. Maybe for a littler guy like Topware, this approach would make sense, but the damage amount is so low, it would probably be a disservice to large game makers to go after individuals like this, only to have their customer base harangue them for it. Then again, you never know...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ubisoft Sued for Breaching License Agreement to the Tune of $26 Million

ResponDesign, makers of Yourself!Fitness (thats the name...really?), is suing Ubisoft claiming a breach of their licensing agreement for failure to diligently pursue development of a game utilizing the license. ResponDesign believed that Ubisoft would create a game under their My Coach label that used the technology and software underlying RD's previous Yourself!Fitness (is this just a bad translation?). Instead Ubisoft created a competing product under the My Coach label, told them the licensed game would be called Yourself!Fitness, (which must have really stung!) and didn't even say sorry. Now RD has filed suit in Los Angeles seeking $26 million in damages, mostly from unrealized royalties.

My Suing Coach!

Hate to burst RD's bubble, but if they think they are getting anywhere near this amount they are crazy. Absolute figures aside, this case will be interesting to follow to see if courts will find/infer a right to have a game made when the main inducement for disclosing and sharing IP are proffered royalties. Without seeing the agreement, it is hard to know, but it is likely bad faith for Ubisoft to make a competing product.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thailand Wants to Prosecute VG Makers for Copycat Murders

In an extremely weak attempt to curb violence in his country, one Thai official has suggested that video game makers be held liable for copycat crimes committed by players imitating a game. This brilliant suggestion comes on the heels of the murder of a Bangkok cabbie thought to be killed by a GTA-addled maniac. Somchai Jaroen-amnuaysuk of the Welfare Promotion, Protection and Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups Office (now there is a mouth full: where are they for all of the child prostitutes?), said, "When a player copycats a crime he or she sees in the game, the game maker should be prosecuted. Prosecutions will automatically force game makers to act more responsibly." Right...

A Different Copyright!

Why limit the law to murder? The state should be suing Nintendo's Ass! I only ate the mushrooms because I thought they would make me bigger, and now look at me!