On April 8, 2021, Activision Publishing, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Warzone.com LLC regarding the use of the word marks “Warzone” and “Call of Duty Warzone.”  Activision is the publisher
Continue Reading Activision Files Lawsuit Over the Rights to Use the Word “Warzone” in the Call Of Duty Series

CoKinetic Systems Corporation filed suit against Panasonic Avionics Corporation, seeking damages in excess of $100 million, in part, for violation of the GPL v2 open source license. CoKinetic alleged that Panasonic blocked competitors from having the ability to develop software for Panasonic’s In-flight Entertainment (IFE) hardware by refusing to distribute the source code for its open-source Linux based operating system. CoKinetic alleged that this software controls the basic functions of Panasonic IFE hardware systems. According to CoKinetic, this is a willful violation of the GPL License, exposing Panasonic as a willful infringer of the copyrights of thousands of software developers that have contributed to Linux. The suit includes other very interesting legal claims, detailed below.
Continue Reading 100 Million Reasons For Open Source Compliance

This article, which focuses on the iOS Developer Program License Agreement, is the second of two articles geared at helping app developers understand the fine print of the agreements they are asked to enter into with the companies that distribute their products. The first article on “Bargaining with the Little Green Robot: Understanding the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement” can be found here.

When it came to market in July 2008, Apple, Inc.’s (“Apple”) App Store created the first centralized market for applications for mobile devices.  It was an instant hit.  In the App Store’s first year alone, users downloaded over 1.5 billion applications.  And the numbers have only grown from there.  The App Store now currently hosts approximately 1.3 million unique applications that have been downloaded a staggering estimated 85 billion times, resulting in payouts to app developers of more than $13 billion.  With numbers like these, app developers cannot afford to overlook this market.  But what does Apple ask in return for this impressive distribution opportunity?  This article examines some of the major terms of the iOS Developer Program License Agreement (the “License Agreement”).


Continue Reading Bargaining with Apple: Understanding the iOS Developer Program License Agreement

This blog entry, which focuses on the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, is the first of two articles geared at helping app developers understand the fine print of the agreements they are asked to enter into with the companies that distribute their products. Following later this year, the second installment will focus on the iOS Program Developer Program License Agreement.
Continue Reading Bargaining with the Little Green Robot: Understanding the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement [1]

If you’ve ever seen clips of Halo avatars discussing how they are stuck in a canyon with the enemy camp,[1] or watched the South Park episode where the main characters play World of Warcraft,[2] then you’ve experienced a genre of film called “machinima.”  The term "machinima" (machine + cinema) generally refers to animated filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3-D environment.[3] To accomplish this, a "machinimator" (machinima + animator) pieces together video game footage to create an independent production that is distinct from the video game itself. Essentially, the machinimator is a digital puppet master who utilizes the environment, design, and characters of a video game to create a separate story. Machinimators normally record their productions in real-time using a capture card (hardware) or video capture program (software). Additionally, many video games now provide an in-game video capture ability, which allows users to easily record their own game footage. 
 


Continue Reading Machinima: Machine + Cinema

Let’s start with the basics. When someone purchases a video game, an end-user license agreement (EULA)[2] details the rights the purchaser has to play and use the game. Additionally, users can often buy optional downloadable content such as map-packs, mini-expansions and the like. Users may also elect to purchase small add-ons to games (such as power-ups, new costumes, or equipment fully capable of being taken off sweet jumps) via microtransactions  For ease of reference, we’ll call both categories "DLC" (but we recognize some distinction may be drawn between the two). Purchasing DLC is typically handled in three ways: integrating the transaction into the video game itself, conducting the transaction externally via a game platform, such as video game platform, or through a third-party provider such as LiveGamer or Paypal. When the transaction relies on a third party, there may be a terms of sale (apart from the game developer’s EULA) that governs a user’s purchase of the DLC. Two distinct legal agreements from two separate companies relating to the same game content creates the potential for conflict. For example, the third party’s terms of sale governing the purchase of DLC may be silent on the topic of content ownership or may even conflict with the EULA.
 


Continue Reading Downloadable Content Without Downloading End User License Issues

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