Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EA Sued Over Spore DRM

Melissa Thomas did what many on the message boards have threatened but none had actually done: she is suing EA for its use of SecuROM, a anti-piracy device that apparently cannot be uninstalled, alleging deceit and concealment for bundling SecuROM with Spore. She thinks that the DRM software is too invasive and is seeking $5 million in damages. EA responded that, well, Spore has sold a million copies! I cannot tell if that hurts them or not...


There has been so much hoopla about this DRM, it is hard to gauge whether its is a huge deal or if it is an overreaction. My impression is that 1.) never mess with a gamer's rig and 2.) the reaction should work as more of a deterrent for future behavior, as opposed to, there being actual damage caused by the DRM technology. What do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Activision Suing Call of Duty Pirate

James Strickland is being sued by Activision for allegedly pirating Call of Duty 3 (that is so a few years ago!) and distributing it, along with some other unnamed games. Activision has since discovered what the unnamed games were and is seeking to amend the complaint to include those as well. The big A is suing for $150,000 per infringing copy. Ouch!

All My Booty 3: Gone

Without the details of the case, it is hard to judge whether this pirate is one of the masses of pirates out there or whether his operation was massive and worthy of being targeted like this. My guess is that Activision has better things to do than become the Metallica of video games (aren't they partners now?), but you never know with the juggernauts - sometimes they just roll.

Sony, Jaffe Sued Over Alleged God of War Idea Theft

Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Barrette-Herzog, plaintiffs, sued for copyright infringment after claiming they sent creative materials to Sony before the production of God of War, including a script and illustrative map, and that Sony subsequently ripped them off in making their huge blockbuster of a game. Sony responded claiming that the allegations were inaccurate, incomplete, and misguided. Plaintiffs wanted to name the game The Adventures of Owen: Owen's Olympic Adventure.

At Least We Know Sony Didn't Take The Name!

I find this case hard to believe based on the name of P's game alone. Who would think up the awesomeness that is GoW, only to name it like it should feature, Izzy the Olympic douche?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tecmo Japan Settles Overtime Suit, Readies for Merger

In an effort to tidy up its legal affairs, Tecmo has settled with two employees who claimed approximately $77,000 is unpaid overtime wages due to Tecmo's illegal "flexible hours" work schedule. In addition, the employees alleged that the company then covered it up with false accounting paperwork. The parties reached a judicial settlement.

"Flexible Hours" Tec' Mo' From Workers

Good to see a game company pay the fair amount for the hard work of their employees - too bad it took the legal system to make it happen.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SL User Files Suit Against LL, Other Avatar for TM Infringement of SLART

Richard Minsky, Second Life artist and owner of the trademark "SLART," has sued Linden Labs, Philip Rosedale (head of LL), Mitch Kapor (head of the board for LL), and an avator named Victor Vezina, claiming trademark infringement, TM dilution, and fraud. Apparently, Victor Vezina is using the SLART trademark without Minsky's approval and after LL would do nothing to protect his mark, he filed suit. For now, Minsky's claims are just claims...but the implications about TM enforcement in SL are huge. If he can win here, what will stop all of the other companies with valid TMs from suing LL for not removing infringing material?

SLART, a Sleeping Fart

Another interesting part was LL's reaction of trying to get Minsky to drop the rights to the mark by offering perks, such as a feature in the SL magazine. LL holds the mark to SL Art, which is different enough from SLART to warrant a unique TM. They were hoping to fold Minsky's mark into their own, but he refused.

Why not make the case that the mark is generic? Many people refer to art in SL as SLART, so it seems unfair for one user to hold dominion over the word (USPTO just cannot keep up!). I know that for many, SL is their livelihood and protecting their IP there is of the utmost importance, but this seems a bit ridiculous. And, I would love to hear the justification for the $1000/day "injury"...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Connecticut Court Dismisses WWE Suit Against THQ, Jakks

A Connecticut State Court dismissed all of WWE's claims against THQ and Jakks, the developer and licensee respectively, of WWE video games. WWE alleged bribery, anticompetitive behavior, conflicts of interest, and other dastardly deeds. The court dismissed the claims after reviewing the record: there is no antitrust injury and therefore no cause of action, and all of the federal claims were dealt with in the Federal Court's dismissal of the issue. WWE was hoping to nullify its licensing agreement as a result of the lawsuit, but it will not happen this time. WWE is appealing.

WWE gets the Smackdown

Sounds like WWE wants more money.