Google Plays Internet Cop for Rights Holders

August 13, 2012 -

Google has decided to play ball with rights holders, according to this Politico report. The world's biggest search engine revealed that it will now make search results from sites with "frequent copyright removal notices" appear lower in Google search rankings. Google announced late Friday that web sites with high numbers of "valid" removal notices would be affected by this new policy.

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EA Motion to Dismiss Counter-Claims in Battlefield Helicopter Lawsuit Denied

July 31, 2012 -

A federal judge has denied a motion by Electronic Arts to dismiss counter-claims in a trademark lawsuit filed by Textron Innovations and Bell Helicopter Textron related to helicopters depicted in its popular Battlefield games. Textron Innovations and Bell Helicopter Textron make the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 helicopters. They filed a lawsuit in 2008 claiming that the game's depiction of these helicopters infringed on Bell-manufactured vehicles in the "Battlefield Vietnam," "Battlefield Vietnam: Redux" and "Battlefield 2" video games.

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How the Internet Helped Shape Opinions on Brown v. EMA SCOTUS Decision

July 9, 2012 -

In the old days, Supreme Court Justices had very little information to turn to outside of legal briefs presented by combatants and case law when making a ruling, but a new study by William & Mary law professor Allison Orr Larsen finds that justice are increasingly turning to information on the Internet to shore up their opinions. According to research from Larsen, there were more than 100 instances where justices used information on the Internet in their opinions.

A Declaration of Internet Freedom

July 2, 2012 -

In an age where acronyms such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, CSA, and more put fear into the hearts of Internet users all over the globe it's time that someone stand up and clearly define what rights we should have on the Internet. Like the Continental Congress did when America declared Independence way back in 1776, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) and other advocacy groups have come up with our own version of a "Declaration" for the Internet age.

Happy Memorial Day

May 28, 2012 -

On behalf of everyone here at GamePolitics we wish our readers a safe and happy holiday. We hope you are enjoying your extended weekend (assuming you had an extended weekend and didn't have to work for the "man" today) and are out having fun on the unofficial start of summer.

I won't rehash it here, but if you want a detailed explanation of what Memorial Day is all about and why it is a very important holiday to a majority of Americans, then you should check out usmemorialday.org.

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New York State 'Anonymous Commenter' Bill Author Issues Statement

May 25, 2012 -

What a difference a few days makes for a politician with an "unconventional" idea. After getting a little pushback from constituents, New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray (R) issued a statement trying to clarify the intended purpose of his billing to deal with anonymous Internet comments. One could categorize his statement as more of a walk back than a clarification...

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New York Politicians Want to Ban Anonymous Internet Comments

May 23, 2012 -

A New York State Assemblymen wants to fight cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks" with a new bill that would ban anonymous web posts. The bill would make it so that all New York-based websites have to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," according to Wired's Threat Level.

Arizona Anti-Online Bullying Bill Stifles Free Speech, Says Critics

April 4, 2012 -

A new bipartisan bill wants to combat online bullying but is so poorly defined in its wording that it goes too far, according to some critics. The legislation is co-sponsored by Arizona State Reps. Ted Vogt and Vic Williams, both Republicans representing Tucson, along with strong support from House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix), Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley (D-Tucson) and Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson).

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California Agrees to Pay ESA $950k for Brown v. EMA Court Costs

January 26, 2012 -

The state of California has agreed to pay the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) $950,000 in legal fees related to arguing Brown v. EMA before the U.S. Supreme Court. When combined with reimbursements for the 2008 case (which the state already paid), the grand total that California paid the ESA comes to $1,327,000.

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EA Claims Fair Use in Textron Aircraft Dispute

January 9, 2012 -

After licensing talks broke down between Textron - the parent company of Bell Helicopter – and Electronics Arts, the company has decided to take the legal route to get around paying any licensing fees. Publishers are often pretty heavy handed when it comes to depictions of their work – even when the target claims fair use - but when the shoe is on the other foot, EA has a habit of seeking remedies through the court.

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DailyKOS Takes on SOPA, PROTECT IP

November 29, 2011 -

Left-leaning political blog DailyKOS joins the editorial pages of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times in opposition of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's Protect IP Act. In a post titled "Congress is close to destroying the internet (no hyperbole)," DailyKOS says that it is not hyperbole when they say that lawmakers, big Pharmaceutical companies, and the recording, and movie industries are out to destroy the internet.

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EFF Issues Appeal for Help to Fight Against SOPA and Protect IP

November 23, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up arms against the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and they want your help to do it. The advocacy that supports internet rights and freedom of speech online says that these new bills are "a threatening sequel to last year's COICA Internet censorship bill" and that this legislation "invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation."

ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers'

November 16, 2011 -

A new article over at TechDirt penned by the Entertainment Consumer Association's Vice President and General Counsel, Jennifer Mercurio, explains why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP are bad for everyone - especially gamers. Mercurio lays out what this means to everyday internet users when it comes to video performance and fair use in the first paragraph:

NCAC to Honor Brown v. EMA Lawyer Paul M. Smith

November 9, 2011 -

Jenner & Block Partner Paul M. Smith will be honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) at the “Annual Celebration of Free Speech & Its Defenders,” in New York City on November 29, 2011 at Tribeca Three Sixty°. NCAC is a coalition of more than 50 national nonprofit organizations, including civil rights, labor, education, artistic and religious groups dedicated to defending free speech through education and advocacy efforts.

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Madison, WI. Officials Propose Database for Tracking Second-Hand Sellers

September 21, 2011 -

A new proposal before the City Council of Madison, Wisconsin has some residents and civil rights groups up in arms this week. An effort to collect the personal information of individuals who sell various used items (books, DVD's, music CD's, iPods, games, and more). Under the proposed Madison city ordinance, if someone sells items to a second-hand store they will have to provide personal information and a photo will be entered into a police database. Local business owners, civil rights advocates and the public are not pleased.

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Paul Smith and Gaming the Courts

August 4, 2011 -

Metro weekly profiles Paul Smith, one of the leading Supreme Court litigators in the country, and particularly his noteworthy work on Brown v. EMA. But before tackling that landmark case, Smith has (and still does) fought to advance gay equality in the courts. Smith was a key factor in successfully arguing Lawrence v. Texas before the Supreme Court in 2003, which resulted in ending sodomy laws.

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Expert Analysis: Bill S. 978

July 11, 2011 -

GamePolitics Contributing Editor and Maryland intellectual property attorney Daniel Rosenthal offers and in-depth analysis of Bill S. 978 (also known as the "anti-streaming bill") in this guest editorial.

S.978, the "anti-streaming bill" has been introduced in Congress, apparently in response to the White House's Intellectual Property Enforcement Legislation Recommendations white paper (PDF), which recommended to Congress that they should amend the Copyright Act to "clarify that [copyright] infringement by streaming . . . is a felony in appropriate circumstances." While that seems innocuous enough on its face, the bill presented by the bipartisan trio led by Sen. Klobuchar is deeply flawed for a number of reasons.

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Report: Sonderkommando Revolt Mod Shelved

December 20, 2010 -

Sonderkommando Revolt, the Wolfenstein mod that reimagined an 1944 Jewish uprising against the camp guards at Auschwitz, has been shelved. One of the key developers on the homebrew project, Maxim Genis, said that online criticism about the subject matter, and an abusive response from the internet community have made working on the project too difficult.

"I did a lot of research for the game," said Genis. "I wanted to show the Jews really did fight back against the Nazis. I wanted to honour them. My intentions were pure and pro-Jewish in every way."

In a response to a Kotaku inquiry about the game last week, the Anti-Defamation League had urged Genis to cancel the launch in January, calling it "a crude effort to depict Jewish resistance during this painful period." As we pointed out last week the ADL praised the film Inglorious Basterds for doing basically the same thing.

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President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

December 13, 2010 -

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty. The court was concerned that the law could be applied to hunting and fishing videos. The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish. Why would the law say that? To tie the act to obscenity and make it an exception to the first amendment.

"This [new] law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society,” said Randall Lockwood of ASPCA.

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Video of ECA SCOTUS Rally

November 29, 2010 -

As readers of GamePolitics well know, November 2 was a momentous day for the videogame industry as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger vs EMA case.

That same day the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) held a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court steps in which gamers from all walks of life stood up for their favored medium.

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Facebook Flick Prompts SCOTUS Philosophical Debate

November 18, 2010 -

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently saw The Social Network and admitted that the film puzzled him.

But, according to an MSNBC article, he used the film to claim that modern conditions and technologies should be considered by Justices when they are interpreting the U.S. Constitution, as in the case of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA.

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North Carolina Tenth Graders Ape SCOTUS, Rule for Game Industry

November 17, 2010 -

On the same day (November 2) the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in Washington D.C., students at Pinecrest High School in North Carolina took part in their own reenactment of the landmark videogame case.

Tenth graders from a civics class took part in the faux-trial, with eight students taking on the role of Associate Supreme Court Justices while a local attorney named Bruce Cunningham assumed the role of Chief Justice. Four students argued for each side.

One student, arguing for California, stated that “When you're a child, your brain hasn't developed that part where you don't understand the consequences,” while a counterpart on the EMA side contended that, “Speech, even though it is not pleasing, is still entitled to freedom.”

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Professor: SCOTUS Should Use Schwarzenegger Case to Fix its “Extreme” First Amendment Stance

November 17, 2010 -

In an opinion piece appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Pepperdine University constitutional law professor Barry McDonald argues that the Supreme Court should use Schwarzenegger vs. EMA to “adjust its severe approach to content-based regulations of speech.”

McDonald opined that the California law in question “puts teeth” in the attempt to stop kids from buying violent games, and he notes that the plaintiffs in the case “are not minors who are eager to receive the ‘speech’ in question,” but game manufacturers themselves.

He continued:

Despite the fact that it seems the 1st Amendment is being used to protect the manufacturers' purses rather than their ideas, lower courts across the country have uniformly invalidated such video-game restrictions on free-speech grounds.

Editorial Hopes Law against “Poison” Games Sets Precedent

November 12, 2010 -

An article penned by the Editorial Board of the Oregonian calls violent games “poison to the teen mind,” and cites “a fragmented but growing body of research,” to back its hopes that the California legislation will at least “find footing” in order to “set a promising example.”

The opinion piece states that Schwarzenegger vs EMA is not exclusively about free speech, since the law does not seek an outright ban on violent games.

The California law, according to the Oregonian, would “simply prevent the neighborhood video store clerk from deciding to sell ‘Postal 2’ to a 14-year-old.”

The editorial continued, stating:

Illinois Also Looking Closely at Schwarzenegger Outcome

November 11, 2010 -

Add the Land of Lincoln to the list of states following Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in order to see which side emerges a winner.

Earlier this month we told you about a Delaware politician looking to reintroduce anti-videogame legislation if California was to emerge victorious in its Supreme Court fight, now a Daily Herald story lets us know that an Illinois politician is preparing for the same outcome.

In 2005, an Illinois law that would have governed the sale of violent games, championed by then Governor Rod Blagojevich, was eventually declared unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court Judge.

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Blogger Hates Violence, Yet is Against California Law

November 11, 2010 -

A discussion between two writers on the Perpetual Post website caught our eye because one of the scribes, even while expressing an aversion to violent videogames, doesn’t think the government should be in the business of limiting a child’s access to them.

In her part of the article, Molly Schoemann says that she “can’t really stomach violence of any kind—even videogame violence,” and recounted a previous experience playing Army of Two in which she was reduced to being “huddled in a pile of rubble,” where she “refused to shoot anyone.”

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Two New Opinion Pieces Back Game Industry in SCOTUS Showdown

November 10, 2010 -

Yesterday we highlighted two editorials that backed California in its Supreme Court appeal over a law that would make it illegal to sell minors mature-rated violent games. Today we offer you a pair of views from people backing the game industry in its Schwarzenegger vs. EMA fight.

First up is President of the First Amendment Center Ken Paulson, who took to USA Today to offer his opinion that governing the intake of media should be left to a child’s parents or guardians.

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Researcher Ferguson: California Law is “One More Spin of the Moral Panic Wheel”

November 10, 2010 -

Texas A&M International University professor and videogame researcher Christopher Ferguson has penned an editorial for the Sacramento Bee in which he argues that the state of California is acting “irresponsibly” in its push for a law that would ban the sale of adult-rated violent games to minors.

Ferguson, as readers of this site well know, tends to generate research that is more open-minded in terms of the relation between violent games, youth and aggression. As such, his research was featured prominently in the amicus brief (PDF) for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA filed by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Should the Industry Embrace or Reject Limbaugh as Game Backer

November 10, 2010 -

Rush Limbaugh recently defended videogames after a caller to his talk show brought up the subject of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, but is Limbaugh someone that the game industry even wants on its side?

Limbaugh used the case to rail against an over abundance of government and liberalism, asking the caller to “Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can't do.” He added that he was “glad” that the case was taking place, as it would push these topics (over-governing and liberalism) into the mainstream, alerting people “to what’s happening throughout society.”

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Pair of Editorials Back California Law

November 9, 2010 -

Two new editorials appearing online today back California in that state’s Supreme Court fight over a law that would make it illegal for minors to purchase mature-rated violent games.

Writing for the Iowa-based Quad-City Times, columnist L. Brent Bozell argues that requiring a parent to buy such games for their offspring is “hardly shredding the Constitution.” He also infers that the videogame industry is hiding behind the First Amendment in order to stop politicians from “tampering with their sales to minors.”

For the game industry, Bozell writes, “there must be no hurdle for children to go around their parents and grab what Justice Samuel Alito called ‘the most violent, sadistic, graphic video game that can be developed.’”

21 comments | Read more

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe thing is in japan holidays do not drive sales, and x/y came out everywhere on October 12th last year. This is Nintendo thinking japan is more important than the rest of the world, and that has not been true since the early 2000s.09/14/2014 - 5:49pm
InfophileA glitch in SSB 3DS is causing players to get banned for using Peach: http://www.polygon.com/2014/9/14/6147417/report-glitch-serves-up-one-day-bans-for-smash-bros-players-who-pick09/14/2014 - 4:28pm
Jessy Hart@ZippyDSMlee Hopefully!09/14/2014 - 11:32am
Neeneko@Infophile - as someone who dealt with release schedules, holidays and other releases are just the begining ^_^09/14/2014 - 11:23am
ZippyDSMleeJessy Hart:I am sure they will be back as DLC...09/14/2014 - 10:31am
Jessy HartI miss the Ice Climbers :(09/14/2014 - 9:55am
InfophileSimultaneous worldwide releases aren't as simple as they seem. Different places have different holidays, plus different other releases to contend with. So a little bit of staggering makes business sense09/14/2014 - 3:25am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/13/excavated-et-cartridges-will-be-sold-distributed-to-museums/ Alamogordo is going to be selling off a bunch of the games from the Atari Graveyard.09/13/2014 - 9:02pm
Matthew Wilsonnintendo should have done a world wide release for smash. The game is all over twitch.09/13/2014 - 12:47pm
ZenYeah, I got a set of codes yesterday and have been enjoying the heck out of it. Limited characters...but it is a demo lol. Glad there is no play limit though which...well...FINALLY. Now, any ideas why it tracks the coins?09/13/2014 - 10:48am
Andrew EisenThe verbiage was "select Platinum members" so yeah, if it's not a random sampling, the other requirements are hidden. Still, everyone gets the demo next week.09/13/2014 - 10:39am
MaskedPixelanteThere appears to be some other factors determining whether or not you get codes. Some people I talked to said they didn't get codes despite meeting all the announced conditions.09/13/2014 - 9:36am
quiknkoldI got Smash Bros Codes!09/13/2014 - 6:42am
InfophileBasically, anyone who got Platinum level on Club Nintendo last year and has e-mails enabled got four codes yesterday (including me) for early demo downloads. Don't know why Nintendo is doing it this way. Maybe they plan more Club perks like this?09/13/2014 - 4:20am
Matthew Wilson@wym I am just hoping they do not screw up their netcode, but given their history I am not holding my breath.09/13/2014 - 12:05am
Andrew EisenThe Smash 4 demo should be available to all 3DS owners on Sept. 19.09/12/2014 - 8:48pm
WymorenceLucky. I've been drooling at that game hoping they can get it to work for a portable since buying my 3DS09/12/2014 - 8:36pm
MaskedPixelanteMan, the way they animate Mega Man in Smash 4 is so accurate to his sprite it's scary.09/12/2014 - 7:28pm
MaskedPixelante3DS version.09/12/2014 - 3:23pm
Wymorence3DS version or WiiU version?09/12/2014 - 3:22pm
 

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