Back in March La Quadrature du Net (a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet) joined 47 European and International organizations in asking the European Parliament to exclude provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called intellectual property from the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
As detailed in this May 7 story, indie studio Notion Games indicated that Ubisoft had asked it to change the name of its game Super Ubi Land to something else to avoid the implication that the game was somehow associated with the French publisher. At the time Notion Games said that it would do just that and that it understood where Ubisoft was coming from.
Nintendo has decided to target "Let's Play" videos on YouTube with "content ID match" claims, according to multiple reports this morning. By making these claims it allows Nintendo to either block content or monetize the video. This is not sitting well with Let's Play video makers like Zack Scott whose videos have been targeted by Nintendo.
Finally members of Congress have put forth serious DMCA reform legislation and rights groups are praising it right out of the gate. The new legislation is called the "Unlocking Technology Act of 2013," and is sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO). The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 legalizes unlocking cell phone unlocking and modifies the DMCA so that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it's done in order to "facilitate the infringement of a copyright."
World of Tanks developer Wargaming.net has filed a lawsuit against Changyou.com and Beijing Gamease Age Digital Technology Co. in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant(s) "stole" Wargaming.net's intillectual property to create an online tank game called "Project Tanks" that is "disturbingly similar" to World of Tanks. Wargaming.net is using the law firm Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Responding to the widespread reporting that the "Nyan Cat" creator and "Keyboard Cat" creator sued Warner Bros. over the inclusion of the Internet memes in the game Scribblenauts Unlimited, Christopher "Nyan" Orlando Torres said that he tried to talk to Warner Bros. about the issue but was disrespected on multiple occasions.
Warner Bros. Interactive is no stranger to the fighting battles about trademarks and copyrights in courts, but a case filed by two Internet meme creators has the industry giant in a role reversal. According to this NeoGAF thread Charles "Keyboard" Schmidt (Keyboard Cat meme) and Christopher "Nyan" Orlando Torres (Nyan Cat meme) filed a lawsuit against publisher Warner Bros.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its 2013 Special 301 Report, detailing regions outside of the United States that are havens for piracy and do not enforce US copyrights. At the top of that list (which mentions 40 different countries) is Russia. Russia is named in the Priority Watch List, along with Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Pakistan. China gets a lot of attention in this particular report, as does Russia.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced yesterday plans to conduct a serious of hearings aimed at identifying problems with U.S. copyright laws and updating them for the modern digital age. Goodlatte was a key sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year alongside the bill's author, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
While Cox Communications may have declined the offer to join the "six-strikes" copyright enforcement and educational program (the Copyright Alert System) that a lot of other service providers have in the United States, that doesn't mean it isn't enforcing its own rules. Cox apparently has a 10+ Strikes program to deal with those who download and share copyrighted material illegally. Cox has an estimated 3.5 million subscribers here in the U.S.
Update: Sunstone Games owner Simon Strange told GamePolitics this afternoon that legal counsel for Wizards of the Coast contacted him way back in December of last year to complain that "Kaiju Combat" was an infringement of its trademark "KAIJUDO."
Broadcasting Cable reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a Second Circuit ruling on a First Sale Doctrine case that could expand its protections beyond U.S. borders. The court ruled that the Second Circuit court erred when it ruled that First Sale Doctrine did not apply to work legally made abroad and imported into the United States.
Ars Technica points out a new scam trolling internet users with legal threats demanding cash settlements for alleged incidents of infringement. An organization calling itself the Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency (ICLEA) recently sent out copyright infringement notices to victims warning them that "if this matter is not settled by Friday, March 1, 2013 then you may face serious potential criminal and/or civil charges filed against you.
AllThingsD is reporting that Electronic Arts and Zynga have quietly settled their long-running lawsuit concerning their respective Facebook games The Sims Social and The Ville.
The Tetris Company announced that the New Jersey District Court has delivered the company final judgment in its case against game maker Xio. The company filed the lawsuit in 2009 alleging that Xio's game Mino for iOS infringed on the copyrights and trade dress rights of Tetris. The court ultimately sided with The Tetris Company, which owns the licensing rights to the popular franchise.
Well it is official - the country of Antigua is one step closer to launching a legal piracy portal - according to TorrentFreak. At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today the World Trade Organization (WTO) officially granted Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights - confirming a 2007 preliminary authorization given by the WTO to the Caribbean island.
The director of such films as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile has been forced to rename his new television show to Lost Angels. Screenwriter and director Frank Darabont had originally named the show L.A. Noir, but Rockstar Games sent him a letter warning him that they would sue him if he used the name. While the show may have some minor similarities to Rockstar Games' film noir style video game, it is actually based on writer John Buntin's 2009 nonfiction title of the same name.
In a recent interview Darabont explained the name change:
TorrentFreak (based on a Numerama report) is reporting that France's anti-piracy agency Hadopi expects to send out more than 1.1 million strike warnings this year - up dramatically from 668,000 in 2012 - and the agency is increasing its activities even after it saw a 25 percent cut in its 2013 budget.
Norway is expected to reveal its new proposals to tackle file-sharing sites that offer copyright material which could include changes to copyright law to allow sites to be blocked, reports TorrentFreak.
A Republican House staffer who penned a memo on a different kind of approach to copyright law in November of last year found himself out of work as the new Congress was seated last Thursday and the new head of the Republican Study Committee - Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) - decided not to keep him on. He finally broke his silence on the whole ordeal to Ars Technica.
Yesterday we highlight the Twitter-based RPG called Tweeria in the ECA Newsletter. Described as a "lazy Twitter role-playing game" by its creators, Tweeria uses replies, retweets and activity to create Tweeria weapons, movements and attacks. Basically all you have to do to play the game is to be social on Twitter.
Canadian internet service provider TekSavvy has found itself in the crosshairs of U.S.-based movie studio Voltage Pictures LLC. The ISP announced on Monday that it had received a request on behalf of the studio to provide subscriber information on "a couple thousand" of its users that the studio alleges have downloaded or shared such films as The Whistleblower, Balls to the Wall, Fire with Fire, and others.
When you develop a game without the permission of the copyright holder, chances are you will be in for some sort of legal action. Such is the fate of the My Little Pony MMO, which has been shut down after the developers of the game received a copyright and trademark infringement claim from Hasbro. The game was not approved by Hasbro. Fearing serious legal action the developers decided it would be prudent to just shut the game down.
It looks like the whole "Six Strikes" plan concocted by MPAA, RIAA and six internet service providers in the United States has been pushed back yet again. The system was supposed to be deployed this summer and would issue warnings and - upon occasion - punishments to those suspected of committing copyright infringement on the Internet. This week the group in charge of that system, the Center for Copyright Information, announced that the ISPs involved were not ready to start sending out those warnings just yet, citing Hurricane Sandy as one of the main reasons for the delay.
Over the weekend Joystiq reported about an interesting lawsuit filed against THQ by a tattoo artist named Chris Escobedo. Escobedo alleges in his lawsuit filed against THQ for using a tattoo he designed for MMA fighter Carlos Condit. Condit's likeness appeared - with the tattoo designed by Escobedo - in THQ's UFC Undisputed 2010 and UFC Undisputed 3.
A questionnaire aimed at developers about their opinions on the issue of copyright and game cloning has been launched by UK game industry trade body Tiga. The survey, located here, offers participants 15 questions on a variety of subjects including whether business has suffered from game cloning, questions about IP ownership, some on licensing and copyright enforcement.
Zynga has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against French game development studio Kobojo, according to Gamasutra. Zynga sued the company for using the "Ville" suffix on its game PyramidVille - an action it took against plenty of other developers for including Dungeonville developer Night Owl. Zynga filed its lawsuit in May of this year, but PyramidVille originally released on Facebook 15 months before Zynga took the developer to court.
A Federal Judge has sentenced 36-year old Sang Jin Kim to 40 months in prison and ordered him to forfeit more than $400,000 in assets. Prosecutors charged Kim with criminal copyright infringement in November of 2011 and seized the domains 82movie.com and 007disk.com. Prosecutors claimed that Kim ran an online piracy empire through his Washington-based company World Multimedia Group Inc. The sites offered pirated versions of popular movies, Korean TV shows, software and video games, according to prosecutors.