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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Crysis 2 Cheaters Beware: Crytek’s Gonna Get You

March 30, 2011 -

Crytek is not happy that people are cheating in Crysis 2, and has pledged to take steps to permanently remove exploits from the game. Further Crytek promises that cheaters will be punished if they get caught.

"We do take cheating very seriously here at Crytek," the developer said in a blog post today. "We are currently taking steps to permanently remove exploits from Crysis 2 and to penalize those individuals that choose to utilize them."

Crytek went on to thank players for their patience as it deals with these sorts of problems. Crytek will launch a series of updates over the next few weeks aimed at fixing post-release problems like cheating. A patch released on the weekend removed auto aim and added a cheat detection system.

Source: C&VG

2 comments

PS3 Jailbreaker Battles for Motion to Dismiss SCEA Case

March 29, 2011 -

In new court documents filed by PS3 jailbreaker George Hotz's attorney, Stewart Kellar, asked that the court ignore recent SCEA filings that make claims about Hotz "running to South America," owning a PlayStation Network account, and deliberately removing data from hard drives submitted to a third-party for inspection by the court. Kellar also asked the court to deny SCEA jurisdiction in California.

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Report: Zynga Seeking Tax Incentives from San Francisco

March 25, 2011 -

According to a Market Watch report, Farmville maker Zynga is seeking a tax break from the city of San Francisco to keep its offices open there. The social game developer said that it is "encouraged" by ongoing negotiations with local government over the future of its San Francisco headquarters. Market Watch claims that Zynga recently threatened to leave the city if it did not receive tax exemptions similar to those recently given to Twitter.

A spokesperson for the company admitted to GameIndustry.biz that it is engaged in "serious discussions" with city officials, though it declined to comment further.

Zynga moved into its current location in September of last year and has space for around 2000 employees at the site, according to GI.biz.

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SCEA Accuses Hotz of Avoiding, Withholding in Jailbreaking Case

March 23, 2011 -

According to new court documents filed by Sony Computer Entertainment America, the company is alleging that PS3 jailbreaker George "Geohot" Hotz has "decamped" to South America to dodge court hearings. The company also alleges that Hotz deliberately removed undisclosed data from hard drives and other devices a California court ordered him to hand over to a third-party for inspection and data collection.

From the court documents:

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Zynga Chip Thief Gets Two Year Prison Sentence

March 23, 2011 -

The man accused of stealing $12 million worth of chips from Zynga Poker users has been sentenced to two years in a UK prison, according to eWeek Europe, and faces additional charges related to a 2008 hacking charge. 29-year-old Ashley Mitchell was sentenced for hacking into Zynga Poker servers and stealing billions in chips valued at around $12 million. He then took the virtual currency and tried to sell it on eBay at deep discounts. He managed to unload about a third of the chips for $85,700 before authorities caught up with him.

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Murder Suspect Tracked Down Thanks to Stolen PS3

March 18, 2011 -

For two months, 22-year-old Giles Lee Palmer evaded police in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Palmer was wanted for his part in the January 19 murders of 19-year-old Dominique Cintrell Morgan and 22-year-old William O'Brian Smith. Police in Gaffney (where the shootings took place) were finally able to locate Palmer by tracking a PlayStation 3 he stole from one of the victims. More than likely Palmer must have either logged on to the PlayStation Network or police asked Sony to track it. Either way, it lead police right to where Palmer was staying.

Two other suspects are believed to be involved in the shootings. It will be hard for Palmer to say he wasn't at least at the location where the two men were shot because he held on to that stolen PS3.

We will follow up on this story as it develops further.

Source: Kotaku


Yee Replaced with Common Sense Media CEO for Commonwealth Club Event

March 17, 2011 -

There was supposed to be a debate tonight between California State Senator Leland Yee and George Rose, the Executive VP and Chief Public Policy Officer for Activision Blizzard, but apparently the San Francisco mayoral candidate can't make it. He has been replaced by James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media - according to Destructoid. I suppose if you are going to get someone that might fight hard against games other than Yee, then Steyer is a decent replacement. Still gamers would have enjoyed seeing Yee debate Rose.

Destructoid also reports that Grand Theft Childhood author Cheryl K. Olsen has taken an interest in the discussion. She will be in the audience, but will not be taking part in the discussion. The moderator would be smart to include her.. More details on the event here.

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Robbery, Family Style

March 17, 2011 -

The family that steals together.. goes to jail together. At least that is what has happened to two York County, South Carolina men were finally nabbed for robbing businesses in both North and South Carolina. According to a joint press release issued by the York County Sheriff’s Office and Shelby Police Department, two men have been arrested for "commercial" robberies: 18-year-old Shawn Douglas Hefner and 29-year-old Thomas Douglas Barr. Shawn's father, 37-year-old Douglas Scott Hefner, is still at large and wanted on several warrants.

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George Hotz PayPal Subpoena Limited to California, Court Docs Reveal

March 16, 2011 -

According to a number of new court documents obtained by PSX-Scene, Sony's subpoena to obtain information on George Hotz's PayPal account has been limited to contributions made in California. That means that Sony can get information on contributions / donations made to the PS3 Jailbreaker from California between January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011. From court documents:

"Okay. All right. Well, then, I'll limit it, as requested. I will limit it to documents sufficient to identify any source of funds in California that went into that PayPal account -- any PayPal account associated with geohot at gmail dot com for the period January 1, '09, to February 1, '11. And ask the plaintiff to redraft their subpoena accordingly."

There is also some clarification in the court transcript (from Sony's lawyer) as to what Sony will be looking for on Hotz' personal computer:

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DC Universe Online Download Coming Soon to PSN

March 10, 2011 -

If you didn't purchase DC Universe Online for PS3 because the retail game cannot be resold, then you may be happy to hear that Sony Online Entertainment will be offering a digital download of the game via PlayStation Network. In a post today on PlayStation Blog, SOE PR Manager Ryan Peters announced that the company plans to give players another way of getting the game. An added perk is the fact that you won't need to have a disc in the drive when you play. Here is what he said:

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Sony Gets Subpoena Green Light in Geohot Case

March 7, 2011 -

Sony has won the right to acquire the IP addresses of "anyone" that visited PlayStation 3 hacker George "Geohot" Hotz’s website from January 2009 to the present, according to a Wired report. Late last week, federal magistrate Joseph Spero gave Sony the green light to subpoena Hotz’s web provider Bluehost to obtain IP addresses. The magistrate also gave Sony the nod to subpoena YouTube, Twitter, and Google for similar data.

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THQ's Balloon Release Angers San Francisco Residents

March 3, 2011 -

C|Net reports that the citizens of San Francisco are apparently ticked off at THQ - and by extension its partner GameStop - for releasing hundreds of balloons into the sky as part of a mock protest of North Korea - part of a marketing ploy for its new game Homefront. The balloon release happened during the Game Developers Conference. Many of the balloons had a postcard-size flyer attached to it advertising the game. People in the downtown area saw the balloons soaring in the sky, but were disgusted as they watched them land in the San Francisco Bay. That is when some residents began to express their anger. The anger was aimed at GameStop, which was a promotional partner with THQ and whose name appeared on the balloons.

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USC Named Top School for Video Game Design Study

March 2, 2011 -

Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, GamePro Media and Princeton Review announced the top two winners in their "Top Schools for Video Game Design Study for 2011." For the second year in a row, GamePro Media and The Princeton Review awarded the University of Southern California the two top prizes. The ranking recognizes the top 10 undergraduate and top 10 graduate programs for video game design out of 150 surveyed in North America. USC ranked highest in both categories.

The survey asked more than 50 questions, and covered a wide range of topics from academics and faculty credentials to graduates' employment and career achievements. Choices included quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure. The Princeton Review factored in information collected from the schools about their scholarships, financial aid and career opportunities.

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Sony, Hotz Argue over Hard Drives

March 1, 2011 -

New court documents obtained by PSX-Scene show that a battle is unfolding between hacker George Hotz's lawyers and Sony over hard drives. As you may recall the court ordered Hotz to turn over his hard drives to a third-party called TIG. The company was charged with analyzing and isolating any data that might be relevant to the case. The original court order called for TIG to analyze the drives "for the purpose of isolating, segregating and/or removing the information on those devices related to Defendant Hotz's circumvention of the TPMs in the PS3 system." But Hotz's legal team says that TIG is giving Sony too much information..

According to court documents, TIG wants to create two full image files of the drives in decrypted and encrypted format. Hottz's attorneys say that this is more information than Sony is entitled per the court's order:

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Report: European Customs Confiscating New PS3 Shipments

February 28, 2011 -

According to a report in UK paper The Guardian, European Customs has been ordered to seize "Playstation shipments" because of a preliminary injunction against Sony - the result of a recent patent infringement claim filed with the civil court of justice in the Hague.

Because of the court's ruling, European Customs has been ordered to confiscate any new PS3's imported into the UK and the rest of Europe for at least 10 days.

For now, Sony has to rely on hardware already on store shelves or shipped prior to the injunction. The Guardian estimates that the company has enough stock on store shelves to last two - three weeks.

"We are currently looking into this matter, and cannot make any comments at this point in time," a representative for Sony Playstation told The Guardian.

LG declined to comment, although sources close to the company confirmed with the paper its current legal position.

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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
 

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