Guardian Reporter's Partner Detained at London's Heathrow Airport for Nine Hours

August 19, 2013 - James Fudge

Update: Politico is reporting that the White House knew that David Miranda would be stopped at London's Heathrow Airport before it happened, but it also denied any involvement in the incident.

"This is a decision that they made on their own and not at the request of the United States," White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Nintendo Offers Recommendations on Fighting Piracy to U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report

February 27, 2013 -

Every year rights holders get to offer their input in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 report, identifying piracy sites and offering recommendations on how best to combat piracy both online and offline. In a special letter, Wii, Wii U and 3DS maker Nintendo offers its two cents on the issue. First, Nintendo points out that it is suffering major losses at the hands of online piracy:

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Apple Does Not Own 'iPhone' Brand in Brazil

February 14, 2013 -

Apple should probably get ready for a lawsuit or a settlement agreement in Brazil. Brazil’s patent authority announced on Wednesday that Apple does not own the iPhone name in Brazil. That distinction belongs to a local company called Gradiente SA. While this ruling from the agency doesn't mean that Apple can't use the name for its products in the region, it does mean that Apple may have a court fight on its hands somewhere down the road.

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Vostu Lays Off Undetermined Amount of Employees

February 15, 2012 -

Brazilian social games company Vostu has laid off an unspecified number of employees this week. The South American social game maker had an estimated 600 employees in December - before the layoffs. Vostu claims that these layoffs have more to do with consolidation of development teams, and not the settlement of a lawsuit with social game maker Zynga.

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Video Games of the 70's: Interactive Exhibition in Brazil

April 11, 2011 -

If you happen to be in São Paulo, Brazil April 16 and 17, then you are pretty lucky. I mean, come on, you're in Brazil and probably on vacation while we're all trapped here. But an added incentive might be a two day event being put on by Gamecultura. Gamecultura is hosting an exhibition with games and consoles of the 70s in São Paulo, Brazil and it is free and open to the public. The free exhibition, being curated by Roger Tavares, PhD, and the production of Guilherme Bellini, the exhibition will bring the curiosities and majesty of the early history of video games, especially games and machines produced in Brazil during that time.

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Brazilian Presidential Candidate Stars in Mario-Themed Game

October 25, 2010 -

Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff is the featured character in a Super Mario Bros.-themed Flash game in which her opponent also makes an appearance (as a zombie).

The game was created by Brazilian software company Give Me Five and has Rousseff gathering red stars (the symbol of her Worker’s Party) and ballot boxes, while trying to avoid the lurching caricature of Social Democratic Party candidate José Serra. Toucans also appear sporadically throughout the game, which, as the Buenos Aires Herald notes, are the symbol of Serra’s party.

As none of the three presidential candidates (the third was Green Party candidate Marina Silva) grabbed more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election between Rousseff and Serra will take place on October 31.

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Rockstar Trouble in Brazil

October 20, 2010 -

A Brazilian court has ordered Rockstar Games to halt the worldwide sales of Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes From Liberty City. The Third Civil Court in the city of Barueri ordered an injunction because it allegedly uses a song without the composer's consent. The song, "Bota o Dedinho pro Alto," which was performed by an 8-year-old Brazilian boy that was composed by his father.

A court statement says the game makers do not have the rights to "Bota o Dedinho pro Alto," which is sung by an 8-year-old Brazilian boy and was composed by his father, Hamilton Louren. The court concluded that the song in the game, "Daniel Haaksman" (performed by Kid Conga feat. MC Miltinho) infringes on the other song.

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Brazilian Gamers: Taxes Are Killing Us

April 7, 2010 -

Residents of Brazil are faced with excessive taxes on videogames, a situation that a new online petition is attempting to call attention to.

The Campaign for Fair Tax Video Games (translated) notes that Brazilian videogame purchases contribute only 0.5 percent to the global industry, while the smaller country of Mexico contributes 2.0 percent, a direct result of higher taxes on videogames. The site claims the taxes cause games and consoles to cost up to three times more in Brazil than they do in the U.S.

The petition states that the higher taxes contribute to piracy, hurt retailers, discourage investment in advanced technologies needed to establish game development in Brazil and also put a damper on gaming companies investing in the South American country.

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IIPA on Piracy: Canada Still a Problem

February 18, 2010 -

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has issued its annual Special 301 Report to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) outlining its take on the state of international piracy.

IIPA members include the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The report identified 35 countries as hotspots for piracy, including Canada. It was recommended that Canada remain on the Priority Watch List as it “stands virtually alone among developed economies in the OECD (and far behind many developing countries) in failing to bring its laws into compliance with the global minimum world standards embodied in those Treaties.” It was also suggested that Mexico be added to the Priority List, as, "A mixture of legislative deficiencies and a lack of consistent, deterrent enforcement have made Canada and Mexico piracy havens."

Spain, which is already on the list, should be placed under “close scrutiny” according to the IIPA as “Enforcement in the online environment is made more difficult as a consequence of Spain’s Attorney General issuing a circular that decriminalizes infringements that occur via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. “

Brazil was also a target of the report, with a recommendation that the country be kept on the Watch List due to increasing piracy and the “lack of an effective legal or practical framework for addressing it.”

Also mentioned in the report was a study done by the ESA into illegal downloading practices. In December of 2009 the group tracked 200 member-published titles across P2P. It was estimated that 9.78 million downloads of the games in question were completed over the timeframe.

The full list of countries on the Priority Watch List are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, China, Philippines and Russian Federation. Remaining lists, as well as individual reports for countries, can be viewed here.

Countries on the USTR Watch List risk being on the receiving end of sanctions imposed by the USTR.

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Distributors, Retailers React to Proposed Brazilian Game Ban

February 8, 2010 -

Early in December, word came out of Brazil that the country was considering legislation to make it a crime to create, import or distribute videogames “that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.”

The bill was sponsored by Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp, who, as Brazilian website UOL reports (translated), is not in the habit of playing videogames himself and could not name any particular game that might fall under the proposed legislation.

Raupp did, however, diss Brazil’s rating system for games—the Department of Justice, Ratings, Titles and Qualification (DJCTQ)—saying he was “certain” that people were not following its guidelines. David Ulysses, Director of the Department of Justice, would not address Raupp’s comments directly, but believes that it is not necessary to censor games in Brazil, saying that the current system supports freedom of expression and consumer choice.

Marcos Khalil owns UZ Games, a retail videogame establishment in Brazil with 22 locations. He stated that such a ban could further impact what is already a “small domestic industry” and could lead to him closing stores and laying off employees, not to mention increasing illegal sales or piracy of games.

Level-Up! Managing Director Julio Vietez, whose company serves up digital copies of games via the Internet, was concerned over the term “offensive” used in the bill, noting that what is offensive to one person or group might not necessarily offend a different person or group.

Glauco Bueno, Director of Marketing and Strategy of Latin America for distributor Synergex, also expressed dismay should the bill become law, “It would be a setback to the advancement of the entertainment media in Brazil, with serious effects on the chain…”


Thanks Maurício!

7 comments

Brazil Discussing Violent Game Ban

December 3, 2009 -

Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp (pictured left) has authored a bill that would make it a crime to make, import or distribute “offensive” videogames in the South American country.

A story on the Brazilian website UOL (translation here) reports that the Education Commission of the Senate has approved the measure, which will now go to vote in the Committee on Constitution and Justice.

Raupp’s goal is to, “curb the manufacture, distribution, importation, distribution, trading and custody, storage, the video games that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.”

He continued, “Therefore, we seek to protect the principle of equality - for many the greatest of constitutional principles - with the characterization of such discriminatory conduct as a crime by making provision in the law.”

The bill seeks a penalty of one to three years imprisonment for those committing an offense.

The story notes that Brazil has banned games such as Carmageddon, Postal and Grand Theft Auto in the past.


Thanks Maurício

21 comments

Mario & Sonic Heading to Rio?

October 2, 2009 -

The International Olympic Committee has given the 2016 Summer games to Rio de Janeiro, sending Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid home looking toward 2020. Our shoutbox has been atwitter with the news, so for this item only, we have become Olympic GamePolitics. And in a not-so-stunning assumption, Sega is probably booking flights for Mario and Sonic to Brazil in 2016.

The plumber and hedgehog challenged each other in Beijing in 2008, and plan to go head-to-head again in Vancouver in 2010. Sega even has a web page for the official video games of the Olympics. It stands to reason that this dynamic duo will take their competition to London in the summer of 2012 and to Sochi, Russia, in the winter of 2014.

While many game sites rated the Beijing game average at best, sales for the game were still strong worldwide, according to the game's Wikipedia entry. So despite the criticism, Sega decided to continue with the tie-in and if their jaunt to Vancouver is a fiscal success, I suspect we'll see them galavanting around the world every two years with the rest of the Olympic athletes.

There was no official word from Sega.

22 comments

Report: Game Piracy Rampant in Brazil

May 13, 2009 -

Writing for The Escapist, Pedro Franco details brazen sales of pirated games by retailers in Brazil's largest city, São Paulo.

It wasn't alway so, writes Franco. He describes Brazil as a legit marketplace for games until the mid-1990s. Since then, however, low per capita income, high tariffs on games, the switch from cartridges to CDs and lax government enforcement combined to make Brazil a game pirate's haven:

The Brazilian Association for the Development of Electronic Games... estimated in 2004 that no less than 94 percent of the country's games market consisted of pirated merchandise...

 

If you're really interested in buying a game, your best bet is to enter one of the many "pseudo-malls" around São Paulo... The asking price is ridiculously small - usually around R$10 to R$15 (or $5 to $7.50) - but after a little negotiation, you can easily end up paying half that...

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ZenWrote up a story about people wanting Nintendo to drop the GamePad...and why I think it needs to stop. :) http://bit.ly/1raIQvv Let me know what you think!07/23/2014 - 10:53pm
MaskedPixelanteHey, so remember that "redeem your Sims 2 key on Origin for a free copy of the all-in-one edition" promotion? Well, it didn't work, so to make up for it, just go into your Origin profile and redeem the product key "I-LOVE-THE-SIMS" for your free Sims 2.07/23/2014 - 9:12pm
Andrew EisenThe Steam controller may have changed again. http://www.vg247.com/2014/07/23/steam-controller-valve/07/23/2014 - 6:46pm
james_fudgePlease use the comments section for bitching about specific articles :) We do read them, after all.07/23/2014 - 10:52am
Andrew EisenThat's unfair but thank you for the tip on the Reddit thread containing the Kickstarter message to backers. The article has been updated.07/23/2014 - 10:50am
SleakerHere's the message Areal backers recieved from Kickstarter: http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2beqlc/areal_kickstarter_suspended/07/23/2014 - 8:52am
Sleaker@MW - I still think Cogent/Level3 hookups were lacking prior to the comcast switch, but I do think verizon is being dumb here.07/23/2014 - 12:06am
Andrew EisenOf course it's a question. It's got a question mark and everything!07/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Matthew WilsonHate to say it, but that poll is not even a question. there is too much evidence that points to Verizon. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth07/22/2014 - 6:23pm
Andrew EisenHuh. The new Battlefield has been delayed to early next year. Are you feeling okay, EA? http://blogs.battlefield.com/2014/07/bfh-will-launch-2015/07/22/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerWest End Games - Areal developers just got their Kickstarter suspended. Might want to dump that 'fully funded' status.07/22/2014 - 12:08pm
MaskedPixelanteHas anyone who bought it gotten their Sims 2 Ultimate Edition upgrade yet? Still waiting on mine, especially since they're supposed to be out by today.07/22/2014 - 10:45am
IanCDynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4 finally has the option to turn off the OTT depth of field that made the game look like a blurry mess. Only a few months behind the JP version patch...07/22/2014 - 10:17am
NeenekoI see nothing in Section 111 that would exclude IP transmission. It even explicitly includes 'other transmission methods'07/22/2014 - 9:28am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/07/19/ruling_aereo_is_not_a_cable_company07/22/2014 - 8:13am
ZippyDSMleelul what?07/22/2014 - 7:53am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/bungie-cross-generation-destiny-wouldnt-be-fair-to-low-res-players/07/22/2014 - 7:53am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/22/wii-u-update-adds-system-to-system-transfers/ The latest Wii U update allows you to do the system transfer between two Wii Us. Still not true accounts, but getting there.07/22/2014 - 7:39am
Papa MidnightSpeculation from PC Gamer. Don't hold your breath. http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/21/microsoft-job-listing-says-nice-things-about-pc-gaming-isnt-clear-if-it-means-them/07/21/2014 - 5:58pm
 

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