Sony Faces Class Action for PSN Terms of Service Changes

December 20, 2011 -

In September Sony updated the PlayStation Network's terms of service to include a new clause removing the ability for customers (who were more than likely upset over the major security breach that happened earlier in the year) to file future class action lawsuits. Users who accepted the new TOS had to agree to individual arbitration instead of a lawsuit if they had a grievance against Sony. Since users had to agree to the new TOS in order to sign in to PSN, many simply agreed and moved on.

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California Announces eCrime Law Enforcement Unit

December 16, 2011 -

California has launched a new eCrime unit to combat various online crimes. The new law enforcement unit created by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and announced Tuesday, aims take on various "cyber crimes" such as email scams, online fraud, piracy, child pornography, and real-world theft of computer gear by organized crime.

"Today's criminals increasingly use the Internet, smartphones, and other digital devices to victimize people online and offline," Harris said while unveiling the unit in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose.

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Marketing Firm Gets Fined for Homefront GDC Balloon Stunt

December 14, 2011 -

It might have seemed cute when marketing company TrashTalkFCM pitched the idea of releasing thousands of balloons into the San Francisco sky to promote Homefront during the Game Developers Conference earlier this year. But THQ realized as the balloons flew upwards and then inevitably fell down into the San Francisco Bay that maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all. The bad local and national publicity wasn't worth it.

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GameStop Sued by Former Employee over Uncompensated Time Due to Security Checks

November 23, 2011 -

Video games retailer GameStop faces a lawsuit filed by a former employee who claims that employees who endured constant security checks during breaks and meals were not properly compensated for the time it took. GameStop has a policy of conducting mandatory security checks on employees when they take breaks or finish a shift. The lawsuit filed in California isn't about privacy or employee dignity, but about the amount of uncompensated time it takes.

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Zynga Employee Accused of $100,000 Stealing Spree

November 17, 2011 -

A temporary Zynga employee was arrested this week for allegedly stealing $100,000 in merchandise. 21-year-old Keith Brown of San Ramon, California was arrested on Tuesday, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai. He stands accused of stealing laptop and desktop computers and software valued at approximately $100,000 between Oct. 31 and the date of his arrest. Zynga security took him into custody and brought him to police, Talai said.

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Good Samaritan Killed Trying to Thwart Robbery

November 1, 2011 -

TV Station KTLA reports on a tragedy that resulted from one man trying to stop a theft. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies have arrested four teenagers as a result. The boys were arrested after a fight over a DS ended in a shooting that wounded one teen and killed an unnamed 29-year-old male. The shooting occurred just after 3:00 p.m. Monday at a shopping center where a teen met with four other teen boys to sell a Nintendo DS game system.

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Brown v. EMA Expenses Kicked to Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2011 -

It looks like the State of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) have not quite completed their courtroom business together, but the rest of their battle will take place in a lower court.

The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to make a ruling on the EMA’s request that the court award it $1.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses related to Brown v. EMA (08-1448). Instead, the court sent it back to the Ninth Circuit Court for adjudication.

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A Mother's 'Long-Overdue Reaction' to Brown v. EMA

September 15, 2011 -

I'm all for letters to the editor, but one written by one Tina L. Bechtel, is particularly over the top and needs to be read to be believed. The Marysville, California mother of at least one son (at least the one she mentions in her letter) delivers what she calls her "long-overdue reaction to the 'supreme sellout' of our children," referring to the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year in the Brown v. EMA case.

West and Zampella v. Activision Gets Trial Date

September 12, 2011 -

Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella finally have a trial date in their long-running lawsuit with Activision. Their court battle with Activision over royalties allegedly owed from the Call of Duty series is set to go before a judge in Los Angeles on May 7, 2012.

"I’m really looking forward to having our day in Court," said Zampella in conversation with Forbes.

Zampella and West founded a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, in 2010, signed a deal with EA, and have hired over 60 employees.

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Amazon v. California, Round II

September 6, 2011 -

While Amazon might be on the precipice of usurping legislation passed earlier this year by the state of California with a voter referendum this November, lawmakers are on the attack. The New York Times chronicles the fight going on in California in this article, which is interesting because it pits traditional retail in the state against online retailers.

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Wargaming.net Opens San Francisco Office

August 3, 2011 -

Wargaming.net, makers of World of Tanks, announced this morning that it plans to expand into North America by opening an office in San Francisco, California. This new office will be headed up by seasoned industry veteran Jeremy Monroe, who will serve as General Manager. Monroe will expand Wargaming.net's North America presence as well as build and oversee customer service, marketing, public relations and community management, according to Wargaming.net.

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ESA Seeks Legal Fees for Brown v. EMA from California

July 25, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is seeking $1.1 million in legal fees from California for its work related to Brown v. EMA. The move is not an unfamiliar one for the trade group, who has successfully sued and won fees in the lower courts in states throughout the country (notably Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois), but this is a first at the highest level of the U.S. court system.

"It's unfortunate that some officials continue to believe that unconstitutional laws are the answer, when time and time again courts have thrown out these bills and proven them to be a waste of taxpayers' dollars," the ESA said in a statement... four years ago. Hopefully California's government will listen after this expensive lesson in constitutional law.

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Call of Duty XP Tickets on Sale

July 22, 2011 -

Tickets are on sale for Activision's first annual event dedicated to Call of Duty, Call of Duty XP, at www.callofduty.com/xp. The event will take place September 2 - 3 in Los Angeles. Call of Duty XP tickets are now on sale. Tickets are $150 and are valid for both days of the event. In addition, buying a ticket gives you admission to all events and activities with the exception of food and drink. Naturally you'll have to pay for your own travel to and from the event. You can buy up to two tickets, the proceeds of which will go to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps returning veterans find employment, establish careers and transition back to civilian life. You must be 18 years old or older to attend.

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Webzen Sues FireFall Developer

July 14, 2011 -

Korean MMO publisher Webzen has filed a lawsuit against Red 5 Studios claiming that the developer breached a contract for the online shooter FireFall. Last month the developer filed for arbitration in a California court claiming that Webzen's new management failed to properly market the game - a provision in the original contract.

"We do not feel the new management of Webzen has honored their obligations towards Firefall, particularly in Asia," wrote CEO Mark Kern in an open letter published on the game's official forum. "The current management of Webzen is a stark contrast to the original CEO and executives who were once so excited to work with us on the game."

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Atari Sues Tommo Over Flashback Knock-Offs

July 7, 2011 -

Atari Interactive has filed a $30 million lawsuit in a California district court against Tommo Inc., alleging that the toy distributor knowingly sold knockoffs of its Flashback 2 console. According to the complaint filed by Atari and acquired by Gamasutra, Tommo sold "wholesale quantities of unauthorized and pirated copies of Atari software and Atari Flashback 2 consoles."

The Flashback 2 was released in 2005 as a plug-and-play direct-to-TV console shaped like a 2600 console. The Flashback came packed with forty games. In 2006 Atari discontinued the system after selling over 860,000 units.

Knock-offs sold by various companies are usually identical to the original Flashback units, offering the same style of packaging, design and packed-in games.

According to Flashback creator Legacy Engineering, "illegal manufacturers" were probably able to obtain the original's source files and plastic molds for the Flashback.

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Common Sense Media: SCOTUS Decision Disappointing for 'All Who Care About Kids'

June 27, 2011 -

As you can probably guess even before you read the official statement from Common Sense Media, they are not pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA today. The children’s advocacy group said in its reaction statement to the decision that they were disappointed and felt that parents had been let down by the court.

But the Supreme Court isn't congress or the president of the United States; in other words they should really only concern themselves with their area expertise - the law as it relates to our constitution. Nevertheless the group that is squarely against the videogame industry voiced its strong opinion that the court erred in its decision. Below is the full statement from Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer:

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Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN Security Breach

June 24, 2011 -

A new lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego on Monday (Cotorreal et al v. Sony Corporation Inc.) alleges that Sony's security breach of Sony Online Entertainment and PlayStation Network were the direct result of layoffs earlier in the month of April. In late April the company laid off around 205 employees from its MMO company SOE, closing down offices in Denver, Seattle and Tucson. These layoffs also affected the company's Network Operations Centre. The complaint alleges that Sony did not mention that any of these employees were part of "network operations" at the time of the layoffs.

The complaint also alleges that Sony rushed to protect data when it first learned of the security breach - but it wasn't user data they were concerned about. The company paid millions to secure sensitive corporate secrets, not offering the same level of action for customer data, the complaint contends.

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AT&T iPad Hacker Pleads Guilty to Two Felony Charges

June 24, 2011 -

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that iPad hacker Daniel Spliter has pled guilty to two felony charges - identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. The charges stem from a June 2010 security breach of AT&T's servers that ultimately led to the theft and public disclosure of 120,000 AT&T customers’ email addresses on Gawker.com.

As part of his plea deal Spliter admitted to writing code that allowed him to breach AT&T Inc.’s servers and steal user data related to the iPad. The hack was facilitated by a security hole in AT&T's website. By using an exploit related to a SIM card identifier called an ICC-ID, Spliter was able to steal over a hundred thousand emails. At the time of the hack, the 26-year-old San Francisco native said that he was doing this to bring the matter to AT&T's attention. Instead he got the attention of the FBI.

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Register of Copyrights: Illegal Streaming Should be a Felony

June 3, 2011 -

The new head of the U.S. Copyright Office says that illegal video streaming should be a felony. The new Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante spent her first day testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, giving her approval to the IP Enforcement Czar’s recommendation that the government should stop treating illegal streaming offenses as "unauthorized performances" and start classifying it as a serious crime, or "unauthorized reproductions and distributions." The White House backs the IP Czar's recommendations. This would turn illegal streaming into a felony - up from a less serious misdemeanor charge.

Pallante said the following before the House Judiciary Committee hearing:

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EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

June 2, 2011 -

Electronic Arts has asked a California court to dismiss a lawsuit brought forward by former Madden NFL developer Robin Antonick. Antonick, a programmer who helped create the original John Madden Football while working as a contractor 20 years ago, sued EA earlier this year claiming that he is owed twenty years worth of royalties.

On Tuesday, EA asked the Californian Federal Court to dismiss Antonick's claims because they are invalid. EA disputes the claim of "code legacy," because the game was built from the ground up when the second game was made and provided Antonick with the source code of that game as proof. Antonick's claims describe the four key areas of the code as "methods, processes and algorithms," but these concepts, EA argues, are not covered by US copyright law.

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California's Amazon Tax Bill Passes State Assembly

June 1, 2011 -

A bill passed by the California State Assembly on Monday aims to help California collect more than $1 billion in taxes from online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Assemblyman Charles Calderon, a Whittier Democrat, claims that the new legislation doesn't impose a new sales tax, but extends one that California should already have been enforcing. The bill, AB155, passed by a vote of 47-16, with the support of one GOP lawmaker. Now it has to pass in the Senate to become law in the state. The question for Californians that work for retailers like Amazon.com is how this might affect their future. If the tax burden is too much, maybe Amazon will simply go to another state where the tax situation is more tenable.

Most Republican lawmakers rejected the bill because they said it would drive businesses out of California, get the state entangled in Internet regulation, and force the state to defend the law in the courts.

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E3's Financial Impact on Los Angeles

May 24, 2011 -

In case you didn't know or need a reminder, the ESA issued a press release today pointing out that the Electronic Entertainment Expo returns to Los Angeles in early June. The annual event dedicated to the interactive entertainment industry takes place June 7 - 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The press release was more about the impact the event has on Los Angeles than the industry.

The event expects to draw "tens of thousands" of attendees which will result "in millions of dollars for Los Angeles." According to the ESA, 28,000 hotel room nights have been booked to date and an estimated $25.1 million in revenue will be generated. Because of the sheer volume of attendees, many major Downtown Hotels as well as properties in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood will also generate revenue from the show.

Naturally, city officials are delighted with E3's affect on local businesses:

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Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent Video Game Law

May 21, 2011 -

We’re all on pins and needles waiting for the Supreme Court to finally release its decision on Brown v. EMA, so why not relieve some tension listening to an academic offer his less-than-impressed analysis of the evidence supporting the violent video game law authored by California State Senator Leland Yee.

Dr. Paul Ballas is a Philadelphia psychiatrist who deals with examining psychiatric illnesses in children and one of dozens who signed an amicus brief in support of the EMA.  At the recent Games Beyond Entertainment conference in Boston, Ballas examined whether Yee's evidence supported his argument that playing violent video games is a harmful thing for the kiddies to do.

Believing that any law based on research-backed harm has the responsibility to prove that it will actually alleviate said harm, Ballas looked at three studies Yee used to support his law.

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BlizzCon First Round Tickets For Sale May 21

May 19, 2011 -

Blizzard Entertainment posted a reminder on Battle.net that tickets for its annual fanfest, BlizzCon, will go on sale this weekend. The very first round of tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. PT through the online Blizzard Store. If you intend on attending the event, you'd better act fact because these tickets tend to sell out very quickly.

A second round of tickets will go on sale Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets for the special pre-BlizzCon charity dinner to benefit the Children's Hospital of Orange County will go on sale Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. PT.

For more details on all the activities planned for this year's BlizzCon, check out www.blizzcon.com.

Source: Blue's News

2 comments

UK Government Report Calls For Changes in Copyrights Laws

May 18, 2011 -

A review of copyright laws in the United Kingdom recommends that the government makes some serious changes that work in the digital age we now live in. A new report, requested by PM David Cameron who had concerns that current copyright laws had become outdated, has been released and it recommend some changes that the music, movie and other entertainment industries might find horrific.

The report penned by Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University suggests legalizing the practice of copying music and films. It also calls for a special agency to be set up (a Digital Copyright Exchange) to handle mediation between rights holders and those that want to license content. Other suggestions include loosening rules on fair use, parodies and other uses of content.

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Comcast Hires Former FCC Commissioner

April 28, 2011 -

Comcast announced today that it has hired former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Commissioner Rachelle Chong as Regional Vice President of Government Affairs for California. The announcement was made by Curt Henninger, Regional Senior Vice President for Comcast California.

Chong will report directly to Henninger, and will oversee all aspects of Comcast's governmental affairs activities, as well as all cable and telecommunications policy matters, throughout the state. She will be based in the company's Livermore, California office, and replaces Johnnie Giles who was recently named Executive Director of External Affairs at Comcast's corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.

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The George Hotz Court Order

April 12, 2011 -

As much as George Hotz says that the settlement agreement is confidential, after reading them one can understand why he would want them to remain buried under the veil of confidentiality. According to those court documents, which have now been leaked to multiple hacking sites, and posted on Videogame247, Hotz was the losing party in the agreement.

According to those court documents, Hotz has been put under a "permanent injunction" that forbids him from "trafficking in any technology" that "circumvents any of the TPM’s in any Sony product," including any kind of decryption code or technology. He is also banned from assisting anyone else in such activities, or distributing and knowledge or confidential information related to Sony's products.

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Fantasy Warfare: West, Zampella and Call of Duty

April 6, 2011 -

In theory, former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella could regain partial control of the Call of Duty franchise. We say in theory because the chances of that ever happening are somewhere between slim and none. But the two counts of fraud that the duo added to its lawsuit against Activision earlier this week also asked the court to rescind the Memorandum of Understanding agreement. If the court were to give them a favorable ruling hypothetically, the duo could co-own Call of Duty and release their own games in the series. It's an interesting scenario to explore, even if it is on par with the plot to Independence Day in terms of likelihood.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter - and most anyone with an inkling of common sense say that this will never happen.

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Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

April 1, 2011 -

Robin Antonick, who is credited with programming the very first Madden game, is suing Electronic Arts for royalty payments he never received. With 85 million copies sold to date that could prove to be a lot of money if Antonick prevails in court. Antonick is asking for a jury trial in California in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. He claims that EA cut him out of the Madden franchise fortune.

Antonick claims that he created the football video game and had signed a development contract with EA in 1986 that entitled him to royalties on "derivative versions" of the Madden franchise.

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Florida Couple Nabbed for Software Piracy

April 1, 2011 -

A Spring Hill, Florida couple have been accused of pirating video games, and have been arrested by Hernando County Sheriffs. The couple, 25-year-old Javian-Jamal Moore and his wife, 27-year-old Lakeria Monique Moore, were both charged with organized fraud. Javian-Jamal Moore is being held at the Hernando County Jail on a $5,000 bond. His wife was released on her own recognizance so she could care for their children. Police were led to the couple by an anonymous tip.

The anonymous caller said that a craigslist ad was offering modding for a Nintendo video game system (we assume Wii) that would allow the user to install pirated software. The couple was apparently charging $195 for this "service." Detectives contacted Nintendo and the Electronic Software Association (ESA) about the allegations, who in turn asked the sheriff's office to prosecute the couple for their crimes.

Detectives said the value for the software was right around $33,000.

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Who's responsible for crappy Netflix performance on Verizon?:

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E. Zachary KnightMan Atlas, Why do you not want me to have any money? Why? http://www.atlus.com/tears2/07/25/2014 - 12:06pm
Matthew WilsonI agree with that07/25/2014 - 10:45am
james_fudgeI think Twitch will have more of an impact on how YouTube/Google Plus work than the other way around.07/25/2014 - 10:22am
IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
Andrew EisenNor I. From a content producer's perspective, almost every change Google implements makes the service more cumbersome to use. It's why I set up a Facebook fan page in the first place; it was becoming too difficult to connect with my viewers on YouTube.07/24/2014 - 4:50pm
Sleakerwonder if anyone is going to try and compete with google, I'm not a huge fan of the way they manage their video services.07/24/2014 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenIt happened. Google bought Twitch. http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/24/googles-1b-purchase-of-twitch-confirmed-joins-youtube-for-new-video-empire/07/24/2014 - 4:28pm
MaskedPixelanteI hope Nintendo actually follows through with the DS Virtual Console, that sounds like it could be cool.07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
james_fudgePeople don't deny it persay, they bristle at the idea that it's a "problem" that nneds to be "fixed."07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
 

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