Law of the Game Digs Into EULAs

In a recent column for GameDaily, Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) fretted about End User License Agreements (EULAs), that mysterious legalese to which game software users are required to agree before enjoying the product for which they’ve just plunked down $39.99 or more.

Attorney and Law of the Game blogger Mark Methenitis picks up the EULA theme in his latest column for Joystiq:

Copyright law and its application to new media has lagged well behind the curve of practicality… technology has now pushed the envelope to the point that it is generally impractical, if not nearly impossible to impose the centuries old concept of ‘copyright’ that originated with the printing press…

That’s not to say the powers that be haven’t tried to adapt copyright to new media. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was the last train wreck of an attempt to do just that… the problem with a lot of legislation is that the law is primarily drafted by legislators who, to be quite honest, know next to nothing about what they’re trying to legislate, while being prodded by highly paid lobbyists who, generally, represent the side with the most money…

With regard to games, Hal [Halpin] has the right first step in mind: there needs to be some sort of large scale discussion about the issue amongst the industry people…

This is an opportunity for the game industry to be proactive and take the lead in dealing with the EULA. Clearly, the license cannot go away altogether, but it can certainly receive a facelift that would be beneficial to both the producer and the consumer.

Full Disclosure Dept: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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