In a traditional online game, users are required to abide by the Terms of Use (“TOU”). Companies, cognizant of the fact that not everyone will comply with the TOU, implement various enforcement measures such as automated filters, user-driven complaint systems, or a more involved in-game monitoring system utilizing Game Masters. As the popularity of user-generated content (“UGC”) and user-customization has increased, ensuring TOU compliance has become increasingly costly and labor-intensive. Additionally, by granting users the ability to import copyrighted materials such as facial depictions, art, literary works, or music, the inclusion of UGC in online games potentially raises Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) compliance issues.
Continue Reading In-Game Monitoring May Create Exposure to Copyright Liability Claims

Video games and feature films have a lot in common. Both tell stories and have exciting visuals and music. Although one is "interactive", recent Blu-ray HD discs are now turning linear films into more immersive, interactive experiences. Rights and talent deals for both have likewise followed a path towards convergence with terms and consideration often being negotiated and drafted the same way. Nowhere is this trend more obvious than the increasing popularity of product placement in enhancing the economic value of video games by making the game play more realistic while providing increased marketing value and good will by allowing the game developer and product owner, generally at no out-of-pocket cost, to reach new audiences.


Continue Reading Branded: Product Placement and Video Games

February 17, 2009 will be one of our most important historic dates. No president will be sworn into office. No one will land on the moon. Instead television in the U.S., as we know it, will simply be turned off. The switch from analogue to digital TV will be thrown at midnight. Many will awake on February 18 to find their beloved televisions don’t work.  Welcome to the Digital Age.


Continue Reading The Digital Countdown

Activision licensed the Gibson trademark and trade dress in November 2006 in connection with Guitar Hero’s "custom guitar controller peripheral." Activision paid a one-time fixed license fee to cover the term of the license and Gibson agreed to help promote the Guitar Hero product.


Continue Reading Gibson’s Patent Action Against Activision Hits Wrong Chord with Court in “Guitar Hero” Dispute: Summary Judgment Granted