Hasbro D-R-O-P-S Facebook Scrabulous Lawsuit

December 16, 2008 -

In July, toymaker Hasbro, which owns the rights to the venerable board game Scrabble, filed suit against the publishers of Scrabulous, a Scrabble knockoff accessible via Facebook.

Scrabulous disappeared immediately, thanks to a DMCA take-down order, and EA quickly launched an officially-licensed Scrabble version on the popular social networking site.

The Associated Press is now reporting that Hasbro has dropped its lawsuit against Calcutta-based Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, the brothers who created Scrabulous. From the AP story:

Court documents did not specify a reason for the withdrawal of the case.

RJ Softwares, the Agarwalla brothers' company, said in a statement that it has agreed not to use the term "Scrabulous" and has made changes to different versions of the game it created after the lawsuit was filed...

"The agreement provides people in the U.S. and Canada with a choice of different games and also avoids potentially lengthy and costly litigations," the statement said.

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Harvard Law School vs. RIAA ...Fight!!

December 15, 2008 -

A team from Harvard Law School will square off against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today in a Rhode Island Federal Court, according to a Harvard Law press release.

Prof. Charles Nesson (left) and a group of law students have taken up the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University grad student targeted by the RIAA. Alleging that Joel file-shared seven songs as a teenager, the RIAA is seeking more than one million dollars from Tenenbaum family. Odly enough, if the same music was purchased on iTunes, the total value would be all of $6.93.

Matt Sanchez, one of law students assisting Prof. Nesson, said:

The basic rules of evidence suggest that this invasion of privacy is both unnecessary and absurd. This hearing isn’t only about Joel’s parents.  It’s also about finally putting up a fight against the recording industry’s intimidation practices.

An except from a case document filed by the Harvard team explains their position:

The [RIAA] is in the process of bringing to bear upon the defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, the full might of its lobbying influence and litigating power. Joel Tenenbaum was a teenager at the time of the alleged copyright infringements, in every way representative of his born-digital generation. The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish him beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused.

 

They do this, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by Joel’s individual action, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using computers, and so frightening to parents and teachers of students using computers, that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future

Check out Harvard Law's CyberOne blog for more info. There is also a Facebook group in support of Joel Tenenbaum.

GP: While not a video game story, Harvard Law's legal battle against the RIAA's IP ham-handed enforcement tactics have implications for game consumers as well.

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On C-SPAN, ESA's Gallagher Predicts New ESA Members

December 8, 2008 -

On the very same day GamePolitics broke the news that NCsoft had dropped its membership in the Entertainment Software Association, Mike Gallagher, CEO of the game publishers trade association, predicted that new, "exciting" member companies would join the ranks of the ESA.

Gallagher's comments came during an appearance on C-SPAN's The Communicators on Saturday.

Gallagher was interviewed by C-SPAN's Pedro Echevarria along with Mike Musgrove, who often writes about games for the Washington Post.

The half-hour program, which touched on a number of issues, is worth a look. Here are samples of Gallagher's comments:

How the ESA looks at the incoming Obama Administration:

If you look at President-elect Obama's technology platform, he specifically calls out protection of intellectual property overseas, but also protection of intellectual property at home. So, we're encouraged by what we see there. We also just had the PRO-IP act passed which places an intellectual property coordinator in the White House. So, we're very encouraged by that...

Whether the ESA will pursue RIAA-style IP enforcement tactics against consumers:

[Game cosnumers] see great value in paying the price points for the software that we make... We're in a far different position than music... Our companies have seen that threat coming and we've built some protections in. We also have a better value equation with our consumer and with our customer so we look to foster and grow that as our primary means of defeating piracy, making sure it's always worth it to buy the game, as opposed to burning it.

Whether industry self-regulation of its content rating system is working:

It's not me saying it, it's the Federal Trade Commission says it. In May they issued their report which was very strongly in favor of the industry. And then just recently, the National Institute on Media and the Family issued their annual assessment of the industry and gave the ESRB and retailers very high marks...

The future direction of ESA:

You'll continue to see  a strong focus on federal and state policy... In the states, we're seeing tremendous opportunity. Gov. Rick Perry from Texas came to E3, our trade show... he came with the idea of attracting more of our [business]. Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan passed tax incentives to attract our industry...

Gallagher's comments on ESA member companies dropping out:

That was Activision's decision to leave... We have a mission on behalf of this industry that we're going to execute on... We continue to have good communication with [Activision], but we're moving forward. We're going to see some interesting changes this year when it comes to membership. I think we'll be adding some members that will be exciting for ESA as well as the industry... Whether certain companies are in or out or not doesn't really change our focus.

Near the end of the program, Gallagher gets busted doing a bit of subtle anti-Activision lobbying: 

Musgrove: Please give me something I can walk away with here. I know these are both represented companies of yours, but - Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour? They look kind of the same to me...

 

Gallagher: I've got to come down pretty heavily in favor of Rock Band 2. 84 tracks, it's a great product... Rock Band is really terrific...

 

Musgrove: Oh, wait a minute, Guitar Hero is from Activision and they're not in the ESA right now... (laughs)

 

ESA Denies Pursuing RIAA-style IP Enforcement

December 1, 2008 -

A Slashdot article posted just before the Thanksgiving break speculated that game publishers lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association might be turning to the aggressive, anti-file sharing tactics which have made music industry trade group RIAA infamous.

In response to an inquiry from GamePolitics, however, an ESA spokesman said the organization had not altered its response to piracy issues.

The question arose on Slashdot - and quickly disappeared into the mist of the Thanksgiving holiday - last Tuesday when Slashdot quoted a user named "cavis":

My organization just received an e-mail from the Intellectual Property enforcement division of the [ESA]. It accuses one particular IP address with 'infringing the copyright rights of one or more ESA members by copying and distributing unauthorized copies of game products (through peer-to-peer or similar software/services).' It goes on to name the filename and the application: Limewire. Has anyone had any contact with this group? Are they following the RIAA's lead and pursuing litigation for peer-to-peer piracy? I'm just trying to evaluate what I am in for as I try to battle P2P within my network." ...The [ESA's] letter reads in part...:


The... ESA is authorized to act on behalf of ESA members whose copyright and other intellectual property rights it believes to be infringed as described herein.

Based on the information at its disposal on 24 Nov 2008... ESA has a good faith belief that the subscriber using the [IP address] infringing the copyright rights of one or more ESA members by copying and distributing unauthorized copies of game products (through peer-to-peer or similar software/services), in violation of applicable copyright laws, through internet access that [agency name] provides directly to the [IP address] or through a downstream provider that purchases this access for [IP address].

While Slashdot headlined the article, Entertainment Software Association Following RIAA?, some follow-up comments to the story questioned that interpretation. So GamePolitics put the question directly to the ESA. Ric Hirsch, the lobbying group's Senior VP for IP Enforcement, responded:

Recent press inquiries regarding ESA notices to ISPs about possible online infringements of ESA members’ IP rights have questioned whether these notices represent a new enforcement tactic on the part of ESA.  

 

The ESA has been sending notices to ISPs regarding online infringements for many years, dating back to 2000. In short, this is not a new enforcement mechanism or a new front in our efforts against piracy. Rather, this is an example of the ESA’s ongoing vigilance and proactive work in detecting and deterring illegal activity.

GP: While the ESA's recent selection of a RIAA's former attorney as its general counsel initially fueled speculation that the organization might adopt the RIAA's draconian approach to file-sharing issues, that would not appear to be the case, at least not in this instance. Most notably, there's no apparent demand for a cash settlement in lieu of a lawsuit. And while the full ESA letter is not cited by Slashdot, it appears to be more of a takedown notice than anything else.

We'll update if more info becomes available.

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Feds' Mod Chip Raid Ended a $2.5 Million Piracy Operation

November 24, 2008 -

A 2007 investigation by Homeland Security agents led them to conclude that a Texas company was raking in as much as $2.5 million per year through the importing and reselling of mod chips obtained from a supplier in China, GamePolitics has learned.

When installed in video game consoles, mod chips allow for the playing of pirated copies of games, but have other more legitimate uses as well. Although they are legal in some countries (Canada, Australia, UK), mod chips are prohibited in the United States under terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

To date, federal law enforcement officials have kept a tight lid on "Operation Tangled Web," their code name for a wide-ranging investigation into mod chip distribution in the United States which culminated in a series of raids in August, 2007. However, a detailed search of publicly-accessible court records by GamePolitics has turned up signed copies of warrants authorizing investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to seize two accounts controlled by a Texas man, identified by investigators as Manuel S. Diaz-Marta of Dallas. The warrants were sworn to by ICE Agent Vaughn Johnson, an asset seizure specialist.

GamePolitics readers may recall that on August 1, 2007, ICE agents raided 32 locations in 16 states, seeking evidence of mod chip distribution. Federal agents received technical assistance in the case from video game publishers trade group the Entertainment Software Association.

According to the documents obtained by GamePolitics, the investigation into Diaz-Marta began in November, 2006 when ICE Agent William Engel of the agency's Cleveland Field Office made undercover purchases of PlayStation 2 mod chips from www.modchipstore.com. An ICE check of domain registration records showed that the URL was registered to a Dallas company, NonStop Technologies. Feds then traced a money order used to make their undercover purchase and found that it had been deposited into a Wells Fargo Bank account registered to NonStop Technologies and Diaz-Marta. ICE alleges that Diaz-Marta listed his gross annual sales as $1,800,000 on Wells Fargo account application forms. When investigators seized the Wells Fargo account on August 1, 2007 it contained $109,100.55.

ICE also alleges that, between August, 2006 and February, 2007, the Wells Fargo account was used to make forty wire transfers totalling more than $500,000 to Supreme Factory, a Chinese company which federal investigators say is known to them as a distributor of mod chips. During the same time period, more than $1.2 million was deposited into the Wells Fargo account, presumably from mod chip sales within the United States. At that rate, federal investigators calculated that modchipstore.com would have been generating roughly $2.5 million per year in sales.

During the August 1, 2007 raid, investigators searched Diaz-Marta's residence, according to one of the affidavits signed by Agent Johnson. At that time agents discovered more than 100 mod chips as well as invoices from Supreme Factory for additional devices. Agent Johnson estimated that 80% of NonStop Technologies' business derived from mod chip sales, writing in a seizure affidavit:

The business cycle for NonStop Technologies more closely resembles that of a drug dealer than that of a provider of legitimate consumer goods. The sales volume and turnover being conducted by NonStop Technologies is indicative of the sale of a highly sought after and scarce product...

As a result of the search of Diaz-Marta's residence, agents also moved to seize a Scottrade account. No funds were contained in that account, however.

GP: Today's GamePolitics exclusive coverage is the first public indication that 2007's Operation Tangled Web was a major investigative success for the feds, as well as something of a coup for the ESA's anti-piracy team. Heretofore, the only publicly available information on the case has consisted of scattered, largely unofficial reports concerning apparent small-fry who were caught up in the sweep. Now, with evidence of NonStop Technologies' impressive revenue stream and large wire transfers to China, the picture of the investigation has changed considerably.

It is important to point out, however, that no information has been released by the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding potential indictments of anyone involved in the case, including Diaz-Marta. ICE declined GP's request to comment for this story. We should also point out that 31 other places were raided on August 1, 2007. Very little is known so far about what was found at most of those locations.

Document dump:

1.) seizure warrant for Wells Fargo Bank account

2.) seizure warrant for Scottrade account

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Copyright Lobby Group Adopts Dick Cheney Dialogue Model

November 19, 2008 -

If comments by the head of the Copyright Alliance are any indication of things to come, it's going to be difficult, indeed, for video game consumers to have an intelligent and productive dialogue on IP issues with the video game industry. The ESA, which represents U.S. video game publishers, is a member of the copyright lobbying group.

A portion of a recent blog entry by Copyright Alliance executive director Patrick Ross seeks to marginalize those who would question or criticize the current state of IP law. Ross displays a discouraging mentality reminiscent of the Bush administration's efforts to paint Iraq War critics as soft on national defense.

With elected officials, consumer interest groups and gamers asking legitimate questions about issues like SecuROM DRM, the DMCA, ACTA, PRO-IP, and ownership of user-created content, we were disheartened to read these words from Ross:

Copyright truly is a consensus issue, with people and policymakers of all stripes recognizing its value. A few vocal blogs and a few sympathetic media outlets tend to create this notion of a war between creative industries and, well, I suppose consumers, but such a war doesn’t really exist.

The Copyright Alliance head implies that if one does not get behind IP protection as the content industry sees it, then one is either on the fringe, supportive of piracy, or both. In other words, If you're not with us, you're against us.

That's nonsense.

Honest people don't support piracy. But neither do honest people wish - or deserve - to live in an IP police state where tech-challenged elected officials accept IP industry campaign donations and proceed to pass laws that are heavily, if not completely, slanted toward big business.

Get a clue, Mr. Ross.

Effects of New Federal Anti-Piracy Law Worry ECA's Hal Halpin

November 14, 2008 -

In an interview with The Escapist, Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin discusses his worries over the PRO-IP Act, a new piece of anti-piracy legislation signed into law in October:

The PRO IP Act was concerning for us primarily because the wording of the law was so broad and open to interpretation. It also provides intellectual property holders with unusually over-reaching rights and at a time when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) too empowers that same community.

 

I fear that PRO IP and DMCA will drive a wedge between the producer/consumer relationship, one that has served the games business well. I would also hate to see us collectively follow the path [of aggressively suing consumers] that the music industry has followed. In addition to it being a patently bad model, proven unsuccessful by every measure, it's also clearly ineffective. Worrying still is how handily [PRO IP] passed - with broad support from both parties. The fact that the Vice-President Elect continues to be a proud sponsor makes me think that it'll be a bumpy ride... one played out in America's courts, for a long time to come.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, among the provisions of the PRO-IP Act are these consumer-unfriendly gems:

  • increases the penalties for infringement by expanding what is considered a 'work'
  • broadens the ability of the government to permanently seize goods
  • creates an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a new cabinet position whose sole job is to increase intellectual property enforcement.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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Columnist Uses Fobidden Mod Chip for Legit Homebrew Gaming

October 27, 2008 -

While the video game industry views the R4 chip as the Devil's work, Darren Gladstone of PC World reports that he used the device to play perfectly legitimate homebrew games on his Nintendo DS.

Darren writes that he bought the R4 on a side street in San Francisco's Chinatown district from a seller who placed an ad on Craigslist:

Why do I feel so dirty? Because Nintendo--and some members of the media--tell me to feel that way...

I'm no pirate! I support the guys who make my games! ...But the R4 isn't just the key to pirate booty. The homebrew community has latched onto this elusive, illicit device too. Yes, some unsavory sorts pirate software, but indie game designers are crafting their own DS software and sharing it freely with the world. Sudoku puzzles. "Choose Your Own Adventure"-type "books." Legal emulators for freeware adventure games, such as ScummVM. Arcade-worthy shooting games. Heck, folks have even made Web browsers, photo viewers, MP3 players, and e-book readers.

That brings me back to my "dark deed": I bought an R4--not to pilfer games illegally, but to try incredible indie projects...

Darren proceeds to list some of the great (and free) homebrew titles he enjoyed, courtesy of his R4, but points out that Nintendo and 54 other companies are suing the maker of the R4 in a Japanese court. Tom Buscaglia - aka The Game Attorney - told Darren:

U.S. copyright laws have become more and more aggressive over the years. Not only is piracy illegal, but creating and selling a technology that facilitates piracy is also outlawed here... It's sad that some developers will end up being deprived of the opportunity to release innovative little games on an open DS platform...

 

I'm torn on it, to be honest, because I'm all for the innovation and inspiration of the independent developers. The sad truth is that they don't have the resources to become certified developers.... But you can't really blame Nintendo for protecting its revenue stream.


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McCain Voted for DMCA, Now Feeling its Bite

October 16, 2008 -

A decade ago, John McCain, senator from Arizona, voted for passage of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

These days, John McCain, Republican presidential candidate, is feeling its sting. That's because the DMCA is heavily weighted in favor of content rights holders, often at the expense of everyday content users - like the McCain campaign.

As Wired's Threat Level blog reports, YouTube has turned down a request from McCain's people to take a closer look at fair use issues before yanking their videos at the request of DMCA take-down notices. From Wired:

The McCain campaign on Monday fired off a letter to YouTube complaining that the company had acted too quickly to take down McCain's videos in response to copyright infringement notices. McCain campaign general counsel Trevor Potter argued that several of the removed ads, which had used excerpts of television footage, fall under the four-factor doctrine of fair-use, and shouldn't have been removed.

 

But citing the DMCA, a controversial copyright law that McCain voted to approve a decade ago, Levine pointed out that YouTube risks being sued itself if it doesn't respond promptly to takedown notices.

By way of example, Cnet reports that YouTube has taken down McCain videos at the request of CBS and Fox because they included clips from on-air interviews.

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EXCLUSIVE: Enteprising PSP Pirates Advertised on Craigslist, Says Sony

October 15, 2008 -

They say that you can sell just about anything on Craigslist. And if allegations by SCEA are correct, a pair of enterprising - if not especially bright - game pirates used the popular online service to advertise their illegal PSP modding operations.

In August SCEA filed suit in U.S. District Court in California, alleging that Gabriel Garcia and Timothy Joey Zoucha, Jr. modded PSPs and loaded them with over 500 pirated games. Both men live in San Jose, California.

In its complaint, Sony alleges that Garcia billed himself as: "THE ONLY TRUE FIRST PSP MODDER ON CRAIGSLIST," offering "cash only package deals" that included "500+ PSP games". Sony said that Garcia even went as far as to display a PlayStation logo in his Craigslist ad.

Sony apparently used private investigators to track the pair down. One P.I. met with Garcia at his residence, according to the complaint, and paid the alleged pirate $80 to mod a PSP and load it with 100 games. Garcia apparently advertised such a transaction as his "Super Spring Deal". The complaint further alleges that Garcia sold the investigator 11 DVD-Rs containing more games and then showed the investigator how to transfer the games to a PSP via PC. Ever-helpful, Garcia also gave the investigator a "How to Use Your PSP Mods" guide on DVD.

Among the pirated games allegedly sold by Garcia were Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Parappa the Rapper and Twisted Metal: Head On.

Zoucha was taken down in similar fashion, according to the complaint, which alleges that he agreed to mod the P.I.'s PSP for $28 and supply a DVD containing 100 pirated games for another twenty bucks. The complaint also says that, like Garcia, Zoucha sold the investigator five DVD-Rs containing additional pirated games and told the investigator that he would give her a deal if she brought him more PSPs to mod.

Among the titles allegedly supplied by Zoucha are: Burnout: Legends, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory and Madden NFL 08.

From the complaint:

Defendants Gabriel Garcia and Timothy Joey Zoucha, Jr... brazenly offer their services on Craigslist.org to "mod" or "unbrick" PSP consoles so as to allow illegal unauthorized copies of SCEA's video game software to operate on the unlawfully modified PSP console... Defendants were caught red-handed...

A court date is scheduled later this month. Read the complaint here.

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Does Nintendo DS Mod Chip Pose a Threat?

October 8, 2008 -

How much of a threat are mod chips to game publishers?

Quite a big one, according to U.K. newspaper The Independent. A lengthy article from today's edition deals primarily with a Nintendo DS mod chip known as the R4:

The R4 is a tiny Chinese-made device – costing around £14 – that for more than seven million owners of Nintendo's hand-held console, the DS, has blown wide open its capabilities. Combined with a small memory card and plugged into the back of the DS, it enables the console to play MP3s and videos, as well as store copies of games you already own.

 

Crucially, however, it also enables the user to play pirated games from the internet [which] can be downloaded for free. Add to this that it's simple to use, and available through retailers such as Amazon, and you can see why the R4 and devices similar to it are bringing video game console piracy to the mainstream.

Enabling a DS to play digital music and video is a wonderful thing. Obviously, playing pirated games is not.

In mentioning Amazon, the article is believed to be refering to Amazon UK. Mod chips are illegal in the United States under the terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). An English appeals court, however, held recently that the devices do not infringe on copyrights in and of themselves.

On the other side of the coin, British parent Nick Welsh explains why the R4 is attractive:

The trouble with kids is you pay £20 or £30 for a game, and they could only play it once. Let's say I sit down and download 10 new games, the way it ends up is they'll only really play one or two or those, and the others get replaced. I wouldn't be able to afford that number of games.

 

You can have 70 or 80 games on a 2GB card, and they're all on the back of the machine. There's no fiddling around with cartridges – it's all there to hand... If there was some sort of iTunes equivalent where it was relatively easy and you could try a game for a week for a quid, and pay another four quid to keep it, then I think it's likely I would use it.

In addition to publishers, some game retailers are concerned about the popularity of the R4, which they link to declining sales of DS game cartridges.

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Another $100K Piracy Settlement for Activision

October 8, 2008 -

Another alleged game software pirate sued by publishing giant Activision has agreed to a $100,000 settlement, according to federal court documents obtained by GamePolitics.

Last month GP broke the news that Activision was quietly suing - and obtaining large settlements - from private individuals in the United States who were not represented by counsel. A case against a sixth defendant, James R. Strickland, had not been resolved at the time of that report. In the interim, Strickland signed off on a stipulation in which he confirmed that he does not contest Activision's allegations and agrees to pay the publisher $100,000. He also waived his right to appeal and agreed not to make public statements about the case.

Strickland signed the document in pro per, a legal term which means that an individual is representing himself.

Activision was represented in the case by attorney Karin Pagnanelli of Los Angeles firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. As GamePolitics previously reported, Pagnanelli has an extensive legal background involving anti-piracy matters for clients including the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA's tough tactics against music file sharers have been a source of increasing controversy in recent years. Pagnanelli, however, told GamePolitics last month that the Activision cases do not involve file sharing.

That being the case, the exact nature of the allegations against Strickland remain unclear. A document filed by Activision with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress names only one game, the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 3. COD3 was named in several of the earlier cases as well. It is unknown what connection, if any, may have existed among the six defendants.

Also unclear is just how firm the $100,000 figure specified in court records might be. GameCyte reported last month that an unnamed defendant in one of the earlier cases claimed that the $100,000 amounts were inflated for shock value, while still terming the monetary loss "substantial."

The Strickland settlement appears to bring to a close this round of piracy lawsuits by Activision. Neither the company nor the defendants are saying much, so we don't know what form of copyright violation took place. Also unknown is whether these cases were an anomaly or signal a new, aggressive anti-piracy strategy for Activision.

Read the stipulation document here.

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Blizzard Beats Bots in Court

October 1, 2008 -

The BBC reports that Blizzard has won a $6 million damage award against the creator of a botting program used illegally within World of Warcraft.

Glider, distributed by MDY Industries, infringed upon Blizzard's WoW copyrights, a judge ruled earlier this year. From the BBC:

The Glider software is the creation of MDY founder Michael Donnelly who is thought to have sold more than 100,000 copies of the $25 (£14) program.

 

It proved popular with many WoW players as it helped them automate the many repetitive tasks, such as killing monsters and scavenging loot, required to turn low level characters into more powerful ones...

 

The case is due to go to court again in January 2009 when the remaining issues in the legal conflict look likely to be settled.At issue will be whether MDY broke the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act and whether Mr Donnelly will have to pay the damages from his own pocket.
 

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Report: Second Activision Pirate Speaks Out

September 25, 2008 -

According to a report on GameCyte, a second defendant in Activision's campaign of secret lawsuits against alleged game pirates has spoken out, albeit briefly.

The news that Activision secretly sued a half-dozen private citizens for pirating its games was broken on GamePolitics last Friday.

As did a previous defendant, the unnamed pirate said that he too paid Activision much less than the huge amount listed in court documents. Apparently afraid to go into any sort of detail, he simply told GameCyte:

I wasn’t doing anything more than an average college student does with torrents or MP3s, so it’s surprising companies like this are wasting time on people with little money.

GP: Interesting comments. It would seem that Activision owes consumers an explanation of just what went on with these cases.

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U.S. Embassy Helps ESA Push Anti-Mod Chip Agenda to Canadian Audience

September 24, 2008 -

As GamePolitics has reported in the past, the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, is keenly interested in seeing Canada adopt legislation similar to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The DMCA however, is controversial even here in the United States. Many Canadians are opposed to seeing a similar law adopted north of the border.

We note that the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa gave ESA VP Stevan Mitchell (left) air time on a recent podcast to explain the ESA's position on a couple of issues, including a condemnation of mod chips. These devices, which are currently legal in Canada as well as Australia and the U.K., are a long-standing target of the ESA.

INTERVIEWER: Hello. This is Ryan Stoner, an economic officer with the U.S. Embassy here in Ottawa. I am here today with Stevan Mitchell, Vice President of Intellectual Property Policy of the Entertainment Software Association, and Jason Kee, Director of Policy and Legal Affairs of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. We are here together today to talk for a few minutes about the North American video game industry...

 

Stevan, can you tell me are there any particular aspects of U.S. intellectual property law that have been helpful in growing the entertainment software industry in the United States?

MR. MITCHELL: There are, Ryan, thank you... U.S. law contains strong prohibitions on the manufacture, sale, and trafficking in circumvention devices which, for our industry, are mostly known as MOD chips. These are devices that are installed in video game consoles to bypass the protections that our publishers and the hardware manufacturers build in that prevent the play of a pirated game. If you just simply download a game and burn it to a CD or DVD and insert it into one of your modern game consoles, it will not play. But, with these MOD chips installed, unfortunately, it does enable the play of pirated games, which makes them tremendously popular and they can sell for as much as $80-$100 U.S.

 

For that reason, they really do fuel the demand for pirated product and they are integral to piracy and, for that reason, they should be separately prohibited as well because oftentimes people who are involved in the manufacturer of these devices might not actually be involved in the making of the sale of pirated copies.

 

In the U.S., we do have civil prohibitions against the creation, trafficking of those devices, incredible provisions which have been used quite effectively in taking down large manufacturing and distribution operations...

INTERVIEWER: Well, thank you both very much for joining us today. I really enjoyed this conversation.

GP: While one supposes that it is part of the mission of the Embassy to help push U.S. trade policy goals, we would have liked to have seen the Embassy podcast include at least a passing mention of the opposing view. Maybe then it wouldn't have sounded so much like propaganda...

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Digital Rights Groups Go to Court Over Secret Anti-Piracy Treaty

September 23, 2008 -

The governments of the United States, Canada, European Union, Japan and other countries are negotiating an anti-piracy agreement that could have a massive impact on digital media consumers.

And they're doing it in secret.

At issue is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). As Ars Technica reports, public interest advocacy groups Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge have filed suit in federal court against the U.S. Trade Representative, a part of the executive branch. The suit is essentially a demand for information about ACTA and is based upon the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge told Ars:

We believe they should conduct these negotiations with some transparency for what goes on, particularly when the talks are transparent to one side and not to the other (us). At a minimum, we should know how the US delegation is formulating its positions and have access to what they are doing.

Meanwhile, p2pnet reports criticism of ACTA by Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) counsel David Fewer:

If Hollywood could order intellectual property laws for Christmas, what would they look like? This is pretty close.

Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has also expressed concern about ACTA:

Because ECA supports the balance that must exist between the rights of copyright owners and the right of copyrighted material consumers, we do not think it wise to include any portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being discussed by the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Commerce. 

 

We are concerned that any DMCA language in ACTA may cause enormous, unforeseen negative implications in US law.  That is why ECA, together with the Consumer Electronics Association, the US Internet Industry Association, Intel, Yahoo, Verizon and others, sent a memo asking the USTR to carefully consider that any discussions of “Internet issues” in ACTA be carefully circumscribed, consistent with U.S. law, and not include any portions of the DMCA.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

300 comments

Report: Defendant in Piracy Cases Slams Activision Tactics

September 23, 2008 -

On Friday GamePolitics revealed that Activision has been quietly suing private citizens who are alleged to have pirated some of the mega-publisher's console titles.

According to a report posted on GameCyte last night, one of the defendants has spoken anonymously about the case and criticized Activision's tactics:

Asked the extent of his guilt, our source was unwilling to provide concrete details. “There was some [wrongdoing],” he admitted. But over the course of a brief telephone conversation, he remained adamant that the punishment did not suit the crime. Audibly shaken, our contact explained how he was scared into a costly settlement by attorneys who determined how much to sue based not on the actual material infringed, but on his purchase history, the equity on his home, and the number of cars in his driveway.

 

If he were to get an attorney, he was informed, he would have to pay even more...

 

Though the defendant believes that Activision shouldn’t be ruining lives over the matter, he told us that his in particular was “not totally” ruined, in part because the $100,000 figures touted in the lawsuit were inflated for shock value. Though he said the monetary loss was still substantial...

GP: The GameCyte report provides an important defendant's perspective to Activision's tactics. In regard to the anonymous pirate's comments about the amount of the settlements, the figures cited by GamePolitics came directly from court documents which we included with the original article. According to those documents, three cases were settled for $100,000, one for $25,000, one for $1,000, and one remains pending.

To be sure, there are lingering questions about the case:

  • what exactly did the "Activision Six" do? Not file-sharing, an attorney for the publisher told GP, but beyond that we are left to guess. Cracking? Mod chipping? Disc reproduction?
  • why did Activision keep the lawsuits secret? Isn't deterring other prospective pirates a major reason to bring such actions?
  • what did Activision know of the tactics its lawyers employed? If GameCyte's source is correct in his assertions, he was persuaded not to exercise his right to counsel.
  • why did Activision pursue this course, as opposed to a more coordinated, industry-wide strategy? Activision, of course, dropped its membership in publishers group ESA earlier this year.
26 comments

UPDATE: Activision Copyright Lawsuits NOT Based on File Sharing

September 19, 2008 -

An attorney who has represented Activision in six recent copyright lawsuits involving video games has told GamePolitics that the legal actions were not related to file sharing.

Karin Pagnanelli, a partner with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, wrote in an e-mail:

While we don’t comment on litigation involving clients, we can advise you that we have never filed any litigation against a file-sharer on behalf of Activision.
 

GP: It would appear, then, that the six defendants we reported on in our earlier story were sued for something more complex than mere file sharing.

46 comments

ESA Participating in Copyright Alliance Conference in D.C.

September 19, 2008 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, will be among the organizations exhibiting at EXPOnential 08 on September 24th in Washington, D.C.

The event is being staged by the Copyright Alliance, a consortium of content-side groups which includes the ESA, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America and others.

EXPOnential is being held in the Senate Russell Caucus Room, and runs only from noon-2 pm.

 

14 comments

Gamers Vent Spore DRM Frustrations via Amazon.com Reviews

September 8, 2008 -

Frustrated Spore users are slamming Will Wright's new release with poor, 1-star reviews on Amazon.com.

Of 642 user reviews posted as I write this, 586 are of the 1-star variety, hardly what one would expect for such a hotly-anticipated game. The negative reviews invariably mention the digital rights management (DRM) system built into Spore. This one, posted by Amazon user dwemer22, is fairly typical:

I was EXTREMELY excited about this game... Then I got on Amazon and noticed that a large number of the forums devoted to Spore were complaining of something called "SecuROM." I did a little digging and discovered that SecuROM is a piece of [DRM] software that is installed along with the game to prevent you from installing the game more than three times, in an attempt to combat piracy.

 

I was fine with that. I then read further through the forums and the Wikipedia article and discovered that SecuROM does a number of other things too, including sending mysterious packets of data back to the company from your computer (identity theft, perhaps?), prevents you from using certain programs, such as DVD and CD burners, makes it impossible for you to modify your root drive and, worst of all, will NOT uninstall without the help of a third party application. So I canceled my order...

 

I encourage EVERYBODY to not buy this game until the SecuROM Digital Rights Management is patched out or removed from later releases. On a final note, the SecuROM didn't do a thing to stop the pirates: the day after it was released in the UK, a pirated copy was to be found on the internet, SecuROM and price free.

 Via: gamesindustry.biz

226 comments

FBI Sends Game Warez Pirate to Jail: We Have the Details

August 29, 2008 -

Kevin Fuchs does not dispute that he was a software pirate.

As GamePolitics reported yesterday (see: ESA Happy to See Game Pirates Going to Jail), Fuchs copped a plea to federal charges that he was part of a warez group which shared pirated game software. He will begin an 8-month stretch in a federal prison soon, followed by another 8 months of house arrest.

So what did Kevin Fuchs do? The ESA's press release didn't specify, except to say that Fuchs supplied and tested software for his warez group. But GamePolitics has obtained a copy of Fuchs' indictment, which alleges that he targeted the following games and software products:

  • NCAA Football 2004 (Xbox)
  • NFL Street (Xbox)
  • MS Encarta Deluxe 2004
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • MS Windows 2000 Professional
  • Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Fuchs' role in his warez group was to download software cracked by other members, test to make sure it worked properly, and then re-upload it for distribution. He also supplied "key generators," software which creates access keys for copyrighted software.

While the FBI alleges Fuchs committed piracy for personal gain, his indictment reads more like that of a gardern-variety warez kid. Even the feds acknowledge this aspect of the warez scene in the indictments's introductory paragraphs:

Other motives in addition to profit include the thrill and social comradery members obtain through clandestine participation in the illegal activity; and the reputation and fame that attends membership and participation in the "top" warez groups.

Indeed, if Fuchs was in it for the money, it wasn't working. A March, 2008 motion filed by Fuchs' attorney with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (where the case originated) asks for a continuance of Fuchs' sentencing because he and his parents could not afford to travel from New York to North Carolina.

The motion also notes that Fuchs has apparently engaged in efforts to rid himself of the pirate's stain:

Professor William Haslinger, of the Hilbert College Economic Crime Investigation Department located in Hamburg, New York... has worked with Fuchs since his arrest and plea to enhance awareness of the illegality and economic harms associated with digital downloading of music and software via the internet, which remains widespread and is often perceived as legal activity. Professor Haslinger will provide evidence of Fuchs’ post offense rehabilitation and his participation as a speaker in forums for college students regarding the illegality downloading and what can happen if you are caught.

24 comments

ESA Happy to See Game Pirates Going to Jail

August 28, 2008 -

Game publishers lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today issued a press release high-fiving jail terms handed down to a pair of software pirates.

As GamePolitics reported recently, Kifah Maswadi of Florida received a 15-month sentence for peddling nearly $400,000 worth of Power Player handhelds. Each contained ROMs of dozens of old NES games.

The ESA is also pleased to see Kevin Fuchs of West Amherst, New York headng off to the Big House for 8 months of jail time followed by another 8 months of house arrest. Based on court records reviewed by GamePolitics, Fuchs wasn't in it for the money, but rather was part of the game warez scene in a big way.

We'll have more exclusive details on Fuchs' case in Friday's GP coverage.

ESA boss Michael Gallagher commented on the sentences handed down to Maswadi and Fuchs:

We commend the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of North Carolina and the Eastern District of Virginia and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work in bringing these criminals to justice. These decisions illustrate, once again, that game piracy will not be tolerated and the extent at which these criminals will be prosecuted.  The ESA and its members will continue to support law enforcement’s efforts to protect the intellectual property of our industry.

 

26 comments

Report: Obama VP Choice Biden is Anti-consumer on Tech Issues

August 26, 2008 -

CNet's Declan McCullough reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an anti-consumer track record when it comes to technology.

In the past the Democratic VP nominee-apparent has stood with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on copyright issues.

From the Cnet report:

[Biden] has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders... ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, [his] anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP [encryption]...

 

Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs...

 

A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits...

 

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA's Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

McCullough reports that Biden has "steadfastly refused" to answer Cnet's questions on his tech voting record.

GP: It's ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing.

Report: While Still at RIAA, New ESA Counsel Lauded Jammie Thomas Music Verdict

August 22, 2008 -

As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the lobbying group which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, announced that it has hired Kenneth Doroshow to serve as the organization's General Counsel.

Doroshow was formerly employed as Senior Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). During Doroshow's tenure the RIAA gained a reputation for employing heavy-handed legal tactics against individual file sharers.

New York attorney Ray Beckerman, who runs the Recording Industry vs The People blog, worries that gamers will now face the same type of oppressive enforcement strategies:

I guess we may have to rename this blog "Gaming Industry vs. The People" some day, as we have just learned that Kenneth Doroshow -- the RIAA executive who was supposed to debate the statutory damages issue with me back in March, but who chose to avoid that subject and instead recounted his opinion of the facts in Capitol v. Thomas, and who later inserted some paper he'd written into the transcript of the conference instead of allowing his talk to be reported -- has left the RIAA and joined the ESA (the "Entertainment Software Association").

 

If he accomplishes for game manufacturers what he accomplished for the recording industry, I would say the industry's prospects are bleak.
 

Beckerman also reports that Doroshow defended the $222,000 verdict levied against single mother Jammie Thomas (seen at left) for file sharing mp3s:

At Fordham Law School's annual IP Law Conference this year, [Beckerman] had a chance to square off with Kenneth Doroshow, a Senior Vice President of the RIAA, over the subject of copyright statutory damages. Doroshow thought the Jammie Thomas verdict of $222,000 was okay, he said, since Ms. Thomas might have distributed 10 million unauthorized copies. [Beckerman], on the other hand, who has previously derided the $9,250-per-song file verdict as 'one of the most irrational things [he has] ever seen in [his] life in the law', stated at the Fordham conference that the verdict had made the United States 'a laughingstock throughout the world.'

GP: For more the Jammie Thomas case, click here.

26 comments

EA's Peter Moore Not a Fan of Draconian Tactics vs. File Sharers

August 21, 2008 -

Speaking at GCDC in Leipzig, EA exec Peter Moore said he did not favor the heavy-handed approach to file sharing embraced by five U.K. game publishers this week.

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, Atari, Codemasters and three smaller firms said they would demand £300 from 25,000 people alleged to be file-sharers. Those who fail to pay will be sued in court. A U.K. woman found guilty of sharing a PC pinball game recently was ordered to pay publisher Topware Interactive £16,086.

gamesindustry.biz reports on Moore's comments:

[Suing consumers] didn't work for the music industry. I'm not a huge fan of trying to punish your consumer. Albeit these people have clearly stolen intellectual property, I think there are better ways of resolving this within our power as developers and publishers.

 

Yes, we've got to find solutions. We absolutely should crack down on piracy. People put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their content and deserve to get paid for it. It's absolutely wrong, it is stealing.

 

But at the same time I think there are better solutions than chasing people for money. I'm not sure what they are, other than to build game experiences that make it more difficult for there to be any value in pirating games.

 

If we learned anything from the music business, they just don't win any friends by suing their consumers. Speaking personally, I think our industry does not want to fall foul of what happened with music.

GP: Kudos to Peter Moore for having the brass to take a stand against the consumer-hatin' tactics of Atari, Codemasters, Topware, Reality Pump and Techland.

Let's hope that Ken Doroshow is paying attention.

29 comments

Is Pirate System Available Through Amazon?

August 20, 2008 -

Yesterday GamePolitics covered the Justice Department's announcement that 24-year-old Kifah Maswadi had been sentenced to 15 months jail time and fined $415,000.

His offense?

Selling the Power Player system, a handheld which connects to a television and offers players access to 76 old - but still copyrighted - NES games.

While federal court documents indicate that it took an FBI undercover operation to bring Maswadi down, we note that the Super Joy Power Player III remains available for purchase - right out in the open - on Amazon.com. While the system is not sold by Amazon itself, seven Amazon "sellers" offer the item under the Amazon logo, including Texas-based Anythingonsale and Darmah76 from New York. Prices range from $11.99 to $40.00.

The Amazon product description page describes the system, along with some of the NES titles it plays:

Included: Main System Controller, Joystick Control Pad, Light Gun, AC Adapter & AV Cable. Play Games Like Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man, 1942, Stargate, Joust, Dig-Dug, Galaga, Contra, Hogan's Alley, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders & Popeye.

Although Amazon provides the sales platform for its registered sellers, it is unclear how much oversight takes place. The Amazon sellers program website offers the following blanket disclaimer regarding copyright violations:

Amazon is not involved in the actual transaction between Sellers and Buyers... As a Seller, you may list any item on the Site unless it is a prohibited item... Without limitation, you may not list any item or link or post any related material that (a) infringes any third-party intellectual property rights (including copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets) or other proprietary rights... or (c) is counterfeited, illegal, stolen, or fraudulent.
 

With other sellers still openly peddling the Power Player, why was the FBI so interested in Maswadi?

23 comments

Does ESA's New Hire Signal a Move to RIAA-style Enforcement?

August 19, 2008 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, has hired a former executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as the organization's new general counsel.

According to an ESA press release, Kenneth Doroshow will take up his new position with the ESA in September. He succeeds Gail Markels as GC. As GamePolitics reported earlier this year, Markels, who had been with the ESA since its formation in 1994, did not have her contract renewed under new ESA CEO Michael Gallagher. Of Doroshow, Gallagher said:

The ESA continues to attract and recruit the brightest individuals. Ken has remarkable expertise in the protection of intellectual property and an excellent understanding of the increasingly connected, dynamic, and innovative entertainment environment we live in. The computer and video game industry will be well-protected with Ken’s guidance and I know he will help facilitate our growth to even greater heights.

 
Does Doroshow's hiring signal a move toward the RIAA's controversial copyright enforcement tactics? That's unclear, although the ESA press release touts his experience in that regard:
 
Doroshow served as Senior Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the RIAA, the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. As the head of the RIAA’s litigation department, he led efforts to protect the copyrighted works of recording artists and managed cutting-edge anti-piracy lawsuits against companies like LimeWire, Usenet.com and AllofMP3.com.
Doroshow's name also comes up in relation to RIAA strategies aimed at music file sharing by college and university students. Before his RIAA stint, Doroshow served with the Department of Justice as Senior Counsel with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. Partick Ross, executive director of the Copyright Alliance, also praised Doroshow:
 
The copyright community is fortunate to have strong advocates in Washington at a number of trade associations who are working on their behalf, and I am so pleased to see one of these seasoned professionals continue this work to the benefit of the entire creative community. Ken brings a wealth of intellectual property knowledge and experience to the Entertainment Software Association. He has worked in multiple facets of the copyright industries and will be a knowledgeable addition to the ESA. The Copyright Alliance looks forward to continuing to work with Ken in this new role.
37 comments

Game Pirate Gets Jail Time, $415K Fine; GP Has Exclusive Content

August 19, 2008 -

The United States Attorney's Office has announed that a Florida man who dealt in pirated video games has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $415,000.

According to a press release, Kifah Maswadi, 24, of Oakland, Florida had pleaded guilty in June to selling Power Player handheld units which were pre-loaded with more than 75 titles, mostly owned by Nintendo and Nintendo licensees. According to the feds, Maswadi earned more than $390,000 peddling the handhelds.

From the press release:

In addition to the 15 month prison term and restitution order, Maswadi was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to perform 50 hours of community service, which includes educating the public on the perils of criminal copyright infringement.

That's what the press release says. But GamePolitics has probed court records and has many more details on the case:

According to Maswadi's indictment, he charged $23.99 for wired versions and $47.99 for wireless units. Both types connect to televisions.

The case began in 2006 when an FBI agent, acting undercover, placed an order with Maswadi for 100 Power Play units at an agreed-upon wholesale price of $10 each. The agent told Maswadi that he planned to sell them at a mall in Manassas, Virginia during the holiday shopping season. The agent eventually purchased 80 more units from Maswadi. In April, 2007, agents raided Maswadi's facilities in Florida. According to the indictment, he admitted to both selling the units and knowing that they infringed on game copyrights.

Court documents indicate that Nintendo reps found 18 unspecified first-party titles on the Power Play units as well as 58 unspecified titles owned by Nintendo licensees. More than 8,500 units were sold by Maswadi. The ESA, which represents game publishers, estimated that the retail value of the Power Play units at $50 each (although the indictment states that Maswadi sold them for $23.99 or $47.99). While admitting his guilt, Maswadi disputed the government's valuation of the loss caused to game publishers. His sentence was below the typical minimum range for the crimes charged.

A Wikipedia entry on the Power Player describes the system and lists a number of the games included (which appear to be old NES titles). The WikiScanner utility indicates that the ESA edited the "legal issues" section of the Wikipedia entry in April, 2007.

33 comments

BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow: People Believe V-Tech Killer Was a Gamer

August 7, 2008 -

BoingBoing co-author Cory Doctorow gives a wide-ranging interview to the Chicago Tribune in which he touches on misperceptions about violent video games and the Virginia Tech massacre.

There’s this broad consensus that the Virginia Tech murders had something to do with violent video games. When you actually read the coroner's inquest report, video games are mentioned twice. The first is his mother saying he never wanted to play those video games. The second is his roommate saying, "We always thought he was weird because he never wanted to play video games." Yet it’s still a [popularly held] truism that violent video games must be responsible for Virginia Tech.

 

GP: As GamePolitics has reported in the past, the official commission investigating the Virginia Tech rampage found only one game that the killer played - Sonic The Hedgehog.

51 comments

Canadian Copyright Lawyer Debates ESA VP Over Mod Chips & more

August 3, 2008 -

As GamePolitics has reported in the past, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the interests of US game publishers, is backing a proposal to bring tougher, DMCA-syle copyright laws to Canada.

Along those lines, GP just picked up on this video of a May, 2008 TV debate on the issue between ESA VP Stevan Mitchell and Howard Knopf, a Canadian attorney. Mitchell is specifically worried about mod chips. He holds one aloft during the program.

For his part, Knopf is aghast at the notion that American corporate interests might force copyright changes in Canadian law. Knopf seems to have the interests of Canadian consumers at heart.

Unfortunately, Knopf does not articulate his points especially well - perhaps due to the tight time frame of the debate - while the hosts of the program seem to jump right in line with Mitchell of the ESA. Maybe that's because the program aired on the Business News Network. shiny dot bulletin comments:

It’s amazing how the hosts are really willing to bend to American market interests as opposed to listening to Howard about the facts and issues.

Knopf runs the Excess Copyright blog, the motto of which is:

Copyright is good. Excess in copyright is not.

 

 
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Daniel LewisI think ubisoft should give AC a break before it's milked to death,and i'm a big fan of the games03/31/2015 - 1:15pm
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2015/3/31/8320017/assassins-creed-chronicles-china-india-russia Assassin's Creed Chronicles is now a trilogy, goes to China, India and Russia03/31/2015 - 1:11pm
Daniel LewisThe only thing said i disagree with is the final quote on Men's experiences are seen to be universal but women are gendered,though doesn't anita say that games with male protagonists are male power fantasies,so in turn both are gendered03/31/2015 - 1:08pm
Daniel Lewisi found the video to be much better than any of the TvW series and it's about time the positive women are put in the spotlight03/31/2015 - 1:06pm
Daniel LewisSo feministfrequency released a positive female character video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXmj2yJNUmQ03/31/2015 - 1:05pm
Daniel LewisI think the guy who made the direct leak said it was an april fools joke when a real one was announced03/31/2015 - 12:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNo way Nintendo would let information like that get out. Remember, they shut down a memoir about the localization of Earthbound by enforcing a 20 year old NDA on the author.03/31/2015 - 12:42pm
Andrew EisenOh, there's definitely a Nintendo Direct tomorrow, but that beat-by-beat recap is almost certainly bogus.03/31/2015 - 12:20pm
james_fudgeConster: the larger issue is that Ind. does not protect LGBTQ+ people under state law03/31/2015 - 12:11pm
PHX Corp@MP I think it is confirmed(not an April Fools joke) http://mynintendonews.com/2015/03/31/nintendo-direct-confirmed-for-wednesday-april-1st/03/31/2015 - 12:00pm
ConsterApparently Pence intends to amend SB101 so denying service isn't allowed - without explicitly protecting LGBT+ and while still allowing the many other things you can get away with now if it's motivated by your religious beliefs.03/31/2015 - 11:53am
MaskedPixelantehttp://mynintendonews.com/2015/03/30/rumour-nintendo-direct-on-april-1st/ A supposed full leak of tomorrow's Nintendo Direct, so you can all laugh and laugh about how wrong it is.03/31/2015 - 11:35am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/why-a-tekken-7-character-is-being-called-a-phoney-1694724959 Why a Tekken 7 Character Is Being Called a Phoney03/31/2015 - 10:08am
Michael ChandraArgh. Anyway, I'm glad that move was made. Wonder if it counts, can he just declare it like that? 03/31/2015 - 9:27am
ZenConster - Good, it's a BS law that exists to just allow hate basically. Glad people are standing up to it. Sadly it should never have passed to begin with though.03/31/2015 - 8:39am
ZenNintendo Direct tomorrow it seems. Funny it will be on April 1st lol. http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/31/nintendo-direct-announced-for-tomorrow03/31/2015 - 8:38am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.destructoid.com/chris-charla-would-love-to-see-no-man-s-sky-on-xbox-one-289761.phtml Apparently Microsoft's famous "parity clause" doesn't apply if they thing your game will make them tons of money.03/31/2015 - 8:00am
ConsterBasically, he's claiming there's a state statute that allows him to invoke section 2 of SB101 and be exempt from it.03/31/2015 - 5:48am
Conster"..military service veteran status, and any breach of this policy shall continue to be considered a material breach of the relationship with the City."03/31/2015 - 5:09am
Conster"no vendor, contractor, grand recipient, or anyone receiving public funds or benefits of any kind shall discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, or United States..03/31/2015 - 5:08am
 

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