Reason TV: Too Much Copyright

April 19, 2012 -

Libertarian-leaning publication Reason Magazine offers a new episode of Reason TV called, "Too Much Copyright?" in a brand new video featuring Ben Huh, CEO and founder of Cheezburger; law professor Tom Bell; and MPAA's head content protection counsel, Ben Sheffner. Host Zach Weissmueller asks all three about the current state of copyrights laws, their effectiveness, and the push for new laws like SOPA and PIPA. Check out the video to your left.


Nintendo Says 'No' to Binding of Isaac on 3DS

February 29, 2012 -

According to several Tweets last night by indie developer Edmund McMillen, Nintendo has decided not to allow The Binding of Isaac on the 3DS.  Nintendo itself has released no statement but McMillen, one of the game’s designers, speculates that it’s the religious context of the game that’s giving the publisher pause.

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Joustin' Beaver v. Justin Bieber

February 28, 2012 -

Android app developer RC3 has decided that it will fight lawyers representing teen heart throb Justin Bieber who sent the company a cease and desist over its game "Joustin' Beaver." The developer has preemptively filed a lawsuit against Bieber claiming that its game is a parody and therefore protected under the First Amendment. 

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The Pirate Bay Faces ISP-Level Blocking in the UK

February 20, 2012 -

Nine recording labels (EMI, Polydor, Sony, Virgin, Warner, and more) asked the UK High Court to block The Pirate Bay, claiming that it infringes on their copyrights and that several ISPs (BSkyB, BT, TalkTalk, Telefonica and Virgin Media) need to implement a block of the site under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video Games

February 1, 2012 -

An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would impose a tax on "violent video games" to help fight childhood obesity and bullying. Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller (D-Stilwell) introduced bill HB 2696, which would add a 1 percent tax on games rated Teen, Mature, and Adults Only by the ESRB. These funds would be used for fighting childhood obesity and bullying. 

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Forbes Explains Why the ESA Shouldn't Support SOPA

January 5, 2012 -

Forbes has an excellent editorial up about the ESA's support of the Stop Online Piracy Act that does a great job of explaining - in simple English - how it could affect every day web sites who might not necessarily be engaged in anything but providing content.

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Belarus Declares Foreign Web Site Surfing Illegal

January 3, 2012 -

Starting January 6th, Belarus, a former Soviet state that became independent in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, will restrict what its citizens can do on the Internet, thanks to new legislation. The new law requires that anyone doing business in the country must utilize fully local Internet domains when carrying out their activities online. Basically, this law criminalizes the use of web sites such as Amazon or Google if they don't have a web site within the country.

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Joke License App Gets Pulled, Senator Celebrates

December 14, 2011 -

It didn't take long for one misinformed and overzealous lawmaker to help get a poor developer's app removed from Apple's store. The app in question, " Driver License," allowed users to create a mock driver's license to entertain and amuse friends. But Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) didn't see the fun in it, and was concerned that it could be used to create a license. Apparently the Senator believed that this program was so sophisticated that a terrorist could download the app and make a fake ID on the fly for some nefarious purpose.

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Google Street View Shooting Game Takes a Bullet

December 14, 2011 -

While it might have been a clever use of Google's Street View (part of Google maps), Google isn't patting the developer of a first-person shooter game that used the 3D panoramic imagery from the service captured by Google. Instead they have put a bullet right between the eyes of "Google Shoot View." The game was created by Dutch digital ad agency Pool Worldwide said that it created the game to promote its unique marketing services.

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Techland Not Shocked About Dead Island Ban in Germany

November 29, 2011 -

Dead Island has been banned in Germany, and while that's not a surprise to gamers around the world, what is surprising is developer Techland's response to it. Speaking to GameIndustry.biz Germany, a Techland spokesperson said that they expected this to happen.

"This isn't unexpected," said a Techland spokesperson. "Germany has its unique regulations regarding video games and violence and the industry can only comply. "Both Deep Silver and Techland were aware of such a possibility from the very beginning."

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Reddit Users Imagine Censorship-Free Internet

November 28, 2011 -

 Internet users are wary of the U.S. House's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's PROTECT IP Act, and are already thinking of ways to get off the Internet the government hopes to to control very soon. One such movement came to fruition on Reddit, where outraged users decided that they needed to come up with some solutions.

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Iran Bans Battlefield 3

November 28, 2011 -

Iran has banned Battlefield 3 from being sold in the country because it depicts a U.S. military assault against the city of Tehran using tanks and aircraft. This news comes from the Iranian IT magazine.

"All computer stores are prohibited from selling this illegal game," said an unnamed deputy with the security and intelligence division of Iran's police in a statement carried by the Asr-e Ertebat weekly.

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'Saints Row Penetrator' Altered In Saints Row The Third for Japan

November 11, 2011 -

Ding.Dong.Ditch. It looks like Japan is not comfortable with the giant sex-toy weapon in Saint's Row The Third. Even though the game received the highest rating it could for its content in the region (CERO Z - basically adults only), the "Saints Row Penetrator" had to be altered for the game to be released in the region.

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BPI Demands UK ISP BP Blocks The Pirate Bay

November 4, 2011 -

UK lobby group BPI is demanding that UK internet service provider BT block access to the BitTorrent file sharing website, The Pirate Bay. If they do not, the group says it will take legal action against them to make it happen anyway. BT tells the BBC that it has received a letter from the group and that it is considering its response to it.

The ISP said that it would not take action against the site unless a court order was issued, but a source told the BBC that the firm was unlikely to fight a lengthy legal battle like it had in the Newzbin 2 case...

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Righthaven Takes $120K Hit in Latest Lawsuit

October 28, 2011 -

Righthaven has been ordered to pay nearly $119,488 in attorney fees, court costs after losing a lawsuit against former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase. The company, which trolls internet sites and sues them for alleged newspaper copyright infringement (it represented the rights of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in this case), couldn't afford to pay a previous judgment of $34,045, and likely faces an even bigger judgment in another case involving the Democratic Underground.

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Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government License to Lie

October 25, 2011 -

A proposed rule change to the Freedom of Information Act would give federal agencies a special exemption when it comes to certain types of information requests. The change would allow agencies to tell citizens requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do.

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Group Uses Justin Bieber to Counter Anti-Piracy Bill

October 20, 2011 -

Using Justin Bieber (of all people) as a focal point for their message an advocacy group has created a campaign to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers found in an anti-piracy bill pending in the Senate. The bill, which was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill in June, would make it a felony for users to post unlicensed content online 10 times in 180 days. The bill is backed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Sony Adds Mandatory Arbitration Clause to PSN ToS

September 15, 2011 -

If you are a member of Sony's PlayStation Network, chances are you were greeted with an email from the company this morning telling you that that the terms of service for the network are about to change. The big change, in case you haven't received that email yet, relates to your ability to sue them. From section 15 comes this wonderful new clause:

Phone Story Pulled from Apple's App Store

September 14, 2011 -

Apple has taken down a game that is overly critical of the process by which most smart phones are made because it highlights the exploitation of workers and the environment. The game is called Phone Story and using a simple gameplay mechanic, shows how workers in third-world countries are treated. Perhaps the game was a little too controversial (or hit too close to home) for Apple, who pulled the game from its App store without public comment.

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Why Civilians are Off Limits in Battlefield 3

August 30, 2011 -

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an interesting article on Battlefield 3 that explains why you can't shoot civilians in the game. Apparently EA decided to make it so that players couldn't just gun down innocents in the game. It's an interesting policy considering that some might consider taking away that option as removing some of the realism that games such as Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 are promising.

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Slightly Censored for Japan

August 8, 2011 -

If you happen to live in Japan, you may or may not notice (you will now because we're telling you about it right here, so "you're welcomed") that the Japanese retail version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution has undergone two edits to protect audiences from "body organs and sexual objects."

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ACL Calls for Ban on Games in Wake of Norway Massacre

July 25, 2011 -

The Australian Christian Lobby has called for games to be banned if they contain violence that is "excessive or gratuitous." The call came as the world digests the bizarre rambling of a 1500-page manifesto written by Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik and released online shortly before he killed 76 people in and around Oslo, Norway.

The Australian federal government said yesterday that Breivik committed his crimes because there is "something clearly intrinsically wrong with him", not because he played violent video games.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge did say that Modern Warfare 2 should be reviewed to have a more restrictive R18+ rating in the country. It is currently rated MA15+.

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Report: Star Wars Galaxies Players Plan Class-Action Lawsuit

June 30, 2011 -

VentureBeat is reporting that more than 50 Star Wars Galaxies players plan on filing a class-action lawsuit against Sony Online Entertainment tomorrow in Washington D.C. Several players have emailed VentureBeat indicating that they will join the class-action lawsuit concerning SOE shutting down various petitions to keep the game alive. The company announced late last week that it would shut down the game at the end of this year.

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Catherine Troublesomely Sexy For Public Adverts

June 21, 2011 -

The good news is Atlus’s ultra-weird dating sim/puzzler will be getting a completely uncut release in the US.  Hooray!

The bad news is the cover art’s been tweaked a bit in order to make it happen.  You can see the difference to the left.  Why the change?  Jeremy Cail, a creative designer for Atlus' US branch says retailers were a bit squeamish about the somewhat risqué original covers.

“We have two different versions of Catherine cover art.  There's already two different versions, one for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, but the altered imagery was at the request of some our retail partners. They wanted the change in case people got the wrong idea about the game... or, as I see it, the right idea about Catherine! No change to the games themselves – the disc themselves are the same.”

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Senators Successfully Bully Apple on DUI Apps

June 10, 2011 -

In late March four United States Senators voiced outrage over iPhone and Android apps that alerted users to local DUI stops being conducted by the police. It bothered them so much that the four got together and penned strongly worded letters to the CEO's of both Apple and Google asking them to ban these apps from their respective marketplaces.

Three months later and one company has complied with the wishes of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). According to revised app developer guidelines uncovered by Mac Rumors, section 22.8 offers an addendum:

"Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected."

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Nintendo Adds 3DS eShop Next Week, Bans Flash

June 2, 2011 -

According to Develop, Nintendo has decided not to support Flash-based apps on its 3DS hand-held. Echoing Apple's ban of the platform on iOS devices, Nintendo has decided that it won't allow developers to use Flash for developing games or other applications. This is particularly important for those wanting to use Flash-based technologies in Nintendo's 3DS web browser.

On a related note, Nintendo of America announced this morning that it would release a "major system update" for the 3DS that adds the 3DS Internet browser and the Nintendo eShop, which contains a variety of new content, including Pokédex 3D, an application that lets fans see Pokémon characters in 3D. Nintendo is offering the NES game Excitebike re-mastered in 3D as a free download until July 7.

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Dead or Alive: Dimensions Gets 'PG' Rating in Australia

May 31, 2011 -

Australia is an interesting country. On the one hand it has struggled for years to get an adult level video games rating classification (R18+) and on the other it allows a game that has been censored in other countries to be released there with little or no controversy. The game in question is the 3DS tactical fighter Dead or Alive: Dimensions. Several countries have banned the game because it features sexualized depictions of children. The children are three teen characters named Ayane, Koroke and Kasumi who game makers describe as "under 18 years of age."

To be fair, the censoring has been done mostly by Nintendo, based on concerns about child pornography laws in Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) that say it is illegal to show young girls as animated characters in a sexualized way. The concern is mostly with the game's photography mode, which allows players to look up characters' dresses when they are in certain poses.

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China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

May 26, 2011 -

According to a report in UK-based paper The Guardian, China has been using its prison population as slave labor.. in MMORPG's. According to the report, prisoners were put to work breaking rocks and digging trenches in in the coalmines of Northern China. By night prisoners would be forced to play MMORPG's to earn virtual currency, which guards would trade for real-world money.

One prisoner, who served three years at the Jixi labor camp for pointing out corruption in his hometown, described the conditions at the camp in startling detail. Liu Dali told the paper that prisoners were forced to play online games to enrich the guards of the prison. The 54-year-old was a former prison guard who made the mistake of "illegally petitioning" the central government about corruption in his hometown in 2004. Dali says that the online slave labor is probably more lucrative than the physical labor that prisoners are forced to do.

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L.A. Noire Banned in UAE

May 21, 2011 -

United Arab Emirates retail chain Geekay Games updated its Facebook page today with sad, if unsurprising news:

Unfortunate news, L.A. Noire has been banned. Sorry guys :(

Bummer.  The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) did not reveal why it banned the game and so far, Rockstar has not commented on the situation.

Speculation has it that The Witcher 2 and Duke Nukem Forever will be the next titles to receive a wallop from the NMC banhammer.

Source: Middle East Gamers via Cheater87

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

2 comments

School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 Dropped from ModDB

March 24, 2011 -

Mod hosting site ModDB has succumbed to pressure from outside sources and has removed the Half-Life 2 mod, School Shooter: North American Tour 2012, from its database. In an open letter to its community, ModDB founder Scott "INtense!" Reismanis said that the site pulled the mod down after "getting quite a bit of mainstream press due to the controversial nature of the content." He went on to say that he got a lot of threatening mail from various sources and the authors of that mail believed that ModDB were the mod's creators.

The Half-Life 2 mod was created by mod group Checkerboarded Studios. The group was obviously pushing the enevelope when it came to its mod. "You are free to do whatever you want. As long as it involves shooting people," reads part of the mod's description.

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
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
 

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