FTC, California AG's Office Address Children's Safety at Digital Kids Conference

March 20, 2012 -

Representatives from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and California's Attorney General's office will address mobile app safety for children at the Digital Kids Conference on Wednesday, April 25 from 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. (Room 1, Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA). Federal Trade Commission Staff Attorney Kenneth H. Abbe and Travis LeBlanc, Special Assistant Attorney General for Technology for the State of California will deliver their remarks on the topic as part of conference's Digital Kids Safety Track.

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Campus Gamers Need Your Help for a Worthy Cause

March 19, 2012 -

On May 4 Campus Gamers will launch the 2012 Education and Gaming Symposium at California State University, Bakersfield. Leaders in the game industry will be attending the event to illuminate attendees on how the games they play can be used to improve education. Confirmed speakers include James Portnow (Extra Credits), Leslie Redd (Director of Educational Programming at Valve), and Geoffrey Zatkin (EEDAR).

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Rhode Island Duo Blame Call of Duty for Threats to Local High School

March 7, 2012 -

Common sense dictates that you can't scream "fire!" in a crowded movie theater and that doing so isn't considered protected speech. In the wake of the recent Ohio school shootings, making public jokes about shooting up your local high school also falls under the purview of widely held common sense doctrine.

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Zynga Wins, Loses in Latest Round of SocialApps Lawsuit

February 17, 2012 -

The Federal District Court in Oakland, California has denied a motion to dismiss a suit against Zynga brought by game developer SocialApps LLC. The developer accused Zynga of copying its Facebook game, myFarm. SocialApps claimed that Zynga had shown interest in buying the rights and code for myFarm and began the process sharing due diligence material. The companies entered into a letter agreement in May 2009 and SocialApps began sharing information and source code.

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Netflix Settles Video Privacy Protection Act Violations

February 13, 2012 -

Netflix announced that it will settle a lawsuit that claimed that it illegally retained customers’ rental histories, an act that ran afoul of Video Privacy Protection Act and California consumer laws. The settlement, which was disclosed in a Netflix securities filing with the SEC, puts to bed a 2011 lawsuit that accused the company of VPAA and California consumer law violations. The VPPA restricts video rental companies from disclosing customer information and requires them to destroy rental history data within one year.

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California Agrees to Pay ESA $950k for Brown v. EMA Court Costs

January 26, 2012 -

The state of California has agreed to pay the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) $950,000 in legal fees related to arguing Brown v. EMA before the U.S. Supreme Court. When combined with reimbursements for the 2008 case (which the state already paid), the grand total that California paid the ESA comes to $1,327,000.

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Game Developer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bank, Mail, and Wire Fraud

January 10, 2012 -

On Monday federal prosecutors announced that a Los Gatos, California game developer pled guilty to several charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, the former owner of UltraCade Technologies said that some of what the government announced on Monday was "inaccurate."

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2009 Final Fantasy XI Lawsuit Dismissed

December 27, 2011 -

Square Enix announced on Friday that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California has dismissed with prejudice a class action lawsuit involving its MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. The ruling came on December 20. The lawsuit was filed by San Francisco's Esther Leong in 2009 on behalf of a class (Final Fantasy XI subscribers), that accused the publisher of "deceptive advertising, unfair business practices, and fraudulent concealment with respect to the online games at the point of purchase." The game was released in North America in 2003.

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California Court: Activision Case Against EA-West-Zampella Goes Forward

December 22, 2011 -

A California Superior Court judge has told EA that it must defend itself in the $400 million contract-interference suit brought by Activision over Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.

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Sony Faces Class Action for PSN Terms of Service Changes

December 20, 2011 -

In September Sony updated the PlayStation Network's terms of service to include a new clause removing the ability for customers (who were more than likely upset over the major security breach that happened earlier in the year) to file future class action lawsuits. Users who accepted the new TOS had to agree to individual arbitration instead of a lawsuit if they had a grievance against Sony. Since users had to agree to the new TOS in order to sign in to PSN, many simply agreed and moved on.

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California Announces eCrime Law Enforcement Unit

December 16, 2011 -

California has launched a new eCrime unit to combat various online crimes. The new law enforcement unit created by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and announced Tuesday, aims take on various "cyber crimes" such as email scams, online fraud, piracy, child pornography, and real-world theft of computer gear by organized crime.

"Today's criminals increasingly use the Internet, smartphones, and other digital devices to victimize people online and offline," Harris said while unveiling the unit in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose.

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Marketing Firm Gets Fined for Homefront GDC Balloon Stunt

December 14, 2011 -

It might have seemed cute when marketing company TrashTalkFCM pitched the idea of releasing thousands of balloons into the San Francisco sky to promote Homefront during the Game Developers Conference earlier this year. But THQ realized as the balloons flew upwards and then inevitably fell down into the San Francisco Bay that maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all. The bad local and national publicity wasn't worth it.

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GameStop Sued by Former Employee over Uncompensated Time Due to Security Checks

November 23, 2011 -

Video games retailer GameStop faces a lawsuit filed by a former employee who claims that employees who endured constant security checks during breaks and meals were not properly compensated for the time it took. GameStop has a policy of conducting mandatory security checks on employees when they take breaks or finish a shift. The lawsuit filed in California isn't about privacy or employee dignity, but about the amount of uncompensated time it takes.

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Zynga Employee Accused of $100,000 Stealing Spree

November 17, 2011 -

A temporary Zynga employee was arrested this week for allegedly stealing $100,000 in merchandise. 21-year-old Keith Brown of San Ramon, California was arrested on Tuesday, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai. He stands accused of stealing laptop and desktop computers and software valued at approximately $100,000 between Oct. 31 and the date of his arrest. Zynga security took him into custody and brought him to police, Talai said.

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Good Samaritan Killed Trying to Thwart Robbery

November 1, 2011 -

TV Station KTLA reports on a tragedy that resulted from one man trying to stop a theft. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies have arrested four teenagers as a result. The boys were arrested after a fight over a DS ended in a shooting that wounded one teen and killed an unnamed 29-year-old male. The shooting occurred just after 3:00 p.m. Monday at a shopping center where a teen met with four other teen boys to sell a Nintendo DS game system.

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Brown v. EMA Expenses Kicked to Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2011 -

It looks like the State of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) have not quite completed their courtroom business together, but the rest of their battle will take place in a lower court.

The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to make a ruling on the EMA’s request that the court award it $1.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses related to Brown v. EMA (08-1448). Instead, the court sent it back to the Ninth Circuit Court for adjudication.

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A Mother's 'Long-Overdue Reaction' to Brown v. EMA

September 15, 2011 -

I'm all for letters to the editor, but one written by one Tina L. Bechtel, is particularly over the top and needs to be read to be believed. The Marysville, California mother of at least one son (at least the one she mentions in her letter) delivers what she calls her "long-overdue reaction to the 'supreme sellout' of our children," referring to the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year in the Brown v. EMA case.

West and Zampella v. Activision Gets Trial Date

September 12, 2011 -

Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella finally have a trial date in their long-running lawsuit with Activision. Their court battle with Activision over royalties allegedly owed from the Call of Duty series is set to go before a judge in Los Angeles on May 7, 2012.

"I’m really looking forward to having our day in Court," said Zampella in conversation with Forbes.

Zampella and West founded a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, in 2010, signed a deal with EA, and have hired over 60 employees.

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Amazon v. California, Round II

September 6, 2011 -

While Amazon might be on the precipice of usurping legislation passed earlier this year by the state of California with a voter referendum this November, lawmakers are on the attack. The New York Times chronicles the fight going on in California in this article, which is interesting because it pits traditional retail in the state against online retailers.

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Wargaming.net Opens San Francisco Office

August 3, 2011 -

Wargaming.net, makers of World of Tanks, announced this morning that it plans to expand into North America by opening an office in San Francisco, California. This new office will be headed up by seasoned industry veteran Jeremy Monroe, who will serve as General Manager. Monroe will expand Wargaming.net's North America presence as well as build and oversee customer service, marketing, public relations and community management, according to Wargaming.net.

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ESA Seeks Legal Fees for Brown v. EMA from California

July 25, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is seeking $1.1 million in legal fees from California for its work related to Brown v. EMA. The move is not an unfamiliar one for the trade group, who has successfully sued and won fees in the lower courts in states throughout the country (notably Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois), but this is a first at the highest level of the U.S. court system.

"It's unfortunate that some officials continue to believe that unconstitutional laws are the answer, when time and time again courts have thrown out these bills and proven them to be a waste of taxpayers' dollars," the ESA said in a statement... four years ago. Hopefully California's government will listen after this expensive lesson in constitutional law.

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Call of Duty XP Tickets on Sale

July 22, 2011 -

Tickets are on sale for Activision's first annual event dedicated to Call of Duty, Call of Duty XP, at www.callofduty.com/xp. The event will take place September 2 - 3 in Los Angeles. Call of Duty XP tickets are now on sale. Tickets are $150 and are valid for both days of the event. In addition, buying a ticket gives you admission to all events and activities with the exception of food and drink. Naturally you'll have to pay for your own travel to and from the event. You can buy up to two tickets, the proceeds of which will go to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps returning veterans find employment, establish careers and transition back to civilian life. You must be 18 years old or older to attend.

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Webzen Sues FireFall Developer

July 14, 2011 -

Korean MMO publisher Webzen has filed a lawsuit against Red 5 Studios claiming that the developer breached a contract for the online shooter FireFall. Last month the developer filed for arbitration in a California court claiming that Webzen's new management failed to properly market the game - a provision in the original contract.

"We do not feel the new management of Webzen has honored their obligations towards Firefall, particularly in Asia," wrote CEO Mark Kern in an open letter published on the game's official forum. "The current management of Webzen is a stark contrast to the original CEO and executives who were once so excited to work with us on the game."

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Atari Sues Tommo Over Flashback Knock-Offs

July 7, 2011 -

Atari Interactive has filed a $30 million lawsuit in a California district court against Tommo Inc., alleging that the toy distributor knowingly sold knockoffs of its Flashback 2 console. According to the complaint filed by Atari and acquired by Gamasutra, Tommo sold "wholesale quantities of unauthorized and pirated copies of Atari software and Atari Flashback 2 consoles."

The Flashback 2 was released in 2005 as a plug-and-play direct-to-TV console shaped like a 2600 console. The Flashback came packed with forty games. In 2006 Atari discontinued the system after selling over 860,000 units.

Knock-offs sold by various companies are usually identical to the original Flashback units, offering the same style of packaging, design and packed-in games.

According to Flashback creator Legacy Engineering, "illegal manufacturers" were probably able to obtain the original's source files and plastic molds for the Flashback.

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Common Sense Media: SCOTUS Decision Disappointing for 'All Who Care About Kids'

June 27, 2011 -

As you can probably guess even before you read the official statement from Common Sense Media, they are not pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA today. The children’s advocacy group said in its reaction statement to the decision that they were disappointed and felt that parents had been let down by the court.

But the Supreme Court isn't congress or the president of the United States; in other words they should really only concern themselves with their area expertise - the law as it relates to our constitution. Nevertheless the group that is squarely against the videogame industry voiced its strong opinion that the court erred in its decision. Below is the full statement from Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer:

33 comments | Read more

Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN Security Breach

June 24, 2011 -

A new lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego on Monday (Cotorreal et al v. Sony Corporation Inc.) alleges that Sony's security breach of Sony Online Entertainment and PlayStation Network were the direct result of layoffs earlier in the month of April. In late April the company laid off around 205 employees from its MMO company SOE, closing down offices in Denver, Seattle and Tucson. These layoffs also affected the company's Network Operations Centre. The complaint alleges that Sony did not mention that any of these employees were part of "network operations" at the time of the layoffs.

The complaint also alleges that Sony rushed to protect data when it first learned of the security breach - but it wasn't user data they were concerned about. The company paid millions to secure sensitive corporate secrets, not offering the same level of action for customer data, the complaint contends.

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AT&T iPad Hacker Pleads Guilty to Two Felony Charges

June 24, 2011 -

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that iPad hacker Daniel Spliter has pled guilty to two felony charges - identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. The charges stem from a June 2010 security breach of AT&T's servers that ultimately led to the theft and public disclosure of 120,000 AT&T customers’ email addresses on Gawker.com.

As part of his plea deal Spliter admitted to writing code that allowed him to breach AT&T Inc.’s servers and steal user data related to the iPad. The hack was facilitated by a security hole in AT&T's website. By using an exploit related to a SIM card identifier called an ICC-ID, Spliter was able to steal over a hundred thousand emails. At the time of the hack, the 26-year-old San Francisco native said that he was doing this to bring the matter to AT&T's attention. Instead he got the attention of the FBI.

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Register of Copyrights: Illegal Streaming Should be a Felony

June 3, 2011 -

The new head of the U.S. Copyright Office says that illegal video streaming should be a felony. The new Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante spent her first day testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, giving her approval to the IP Enforcement Czar’s recommendation that the government should stop treating illegal streaming offenses as "unauthorized performances" and start classifying it as a serious crime, or "unauthorized reproductions and distributions." The White House backs the IP Czar's recommendations. This would turn illegal streaming into a felony - up from a less serious misdemeanor charge.

Pallante said the following before the House Judiciary Committee hearing:

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EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

June 2, 2011 -

Electronic Arts has asked a California court to dismiss a lawsuit brought forward by former Madden NFL developer Robin Antonick. Antonick, a programmer who helped create the original John Madden Football while working as a contractor 20 years ago, sued EA earlier this year claiming that he is owed twenty years worth of royalties.

On Tuesday, EA asked the Californian Federal Court to dismiss Antonick's claims because they are invalid. EA disputes the claim of "code legacy," because the game was built from the ground up when the second game was made and provided Antonick with the source code of that game as proof. Antonick's claims describe the four key areas of the code as "methods, processes and algorithms," but these concepts, EA argues, are not covered by US copyright law.

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California's Amazon Tax Bill Passes State Assembly

June 1, 2011 -

A bill passed by the California State Assembly on Monday aims to help California collect more than $1 billion in taxes from online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Assemblyman Charles Calderon, a Whittier Democrat, claims that the new legislation doesn't impose a new sales tax, but extends one that California should already have been enforcing. The bill, AB155, passed by a vote of 47-16, with the support of one GOP lawmaker. Now it has to pass in the Senate to become law in the state. The question for Californians that work for retailers like Amazon.com is how this might affect their future. If the tax burden is too much, maybe Amazon will simply go to another state where the tax situation is more tenable.

Most Republican lawmakers rejected the bill because they said it would drive businesses out of California, get the state entangled in Internet regulation, and force the state to defend the law in the courts.

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Papa MidnightHell, set up a Google Hangout or Skype call, and I'll be happy to join in.10/24/2014 - 9:34am
Papa MidnightBring Totalbiscuit on SuperPAC for Saturday!10/24/2014 - 9:32am
CMinerThere is no journalism/ethics concern that you've raised that would be made weaker by not raising it under the umbrella of GamerGate.10/24/2014 - 9:32am
CMinerNeo: You want to start some healing? Stop using the GamerGate hashtag. Even if you don't believe that it originated with harassers, you have to see that it's been irrevocably tainted by their actions.10/24/2014 - 9:31am
MaskedPixelanteGOG has a four day countdown to their next publisher. All hints suggest Disney, but no guarantee it'll be LucasArts.10/24/2014 - 6:58am
Neo_DrKefkawith a neutral party Moderating it. I've been waiting a long time for a GamerGate to happen but now all I want is the healing to start. Weird huh? Gamers don't need to be attacking gamers we should all be on the same side10/24/2014 - 12:39am
Neo_DrKefkaRight now from what I seen your tweet and the other guys tweet there are hard feelings. Until we start a dialogue with each other I think it will get worse before it will get better. I hope you guys work something out meet in a neutral stream10/24/2014 - 12:37am
Neo_DrKefkaThanks James. Even if a hot/hard headed person likes me thinks the public needs to sit down and discuss this together. We all might not agree right now but if the public does not start talking to each other we are not going anywhere.10/24/2014 - 12:36am
james_fudgeHey guys I had a nap because, getting old! I'll take a look.10/24/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonjames needs to contact Totalbiscuit than10/23/2014 - 10:07pm
Neo_DrKefkaJames said earlier he went into a stream earlier informed them who he was and they didn't care. If James is trying to talk lets set something up?10/23/2014 - 9:38pm
Matthew WilsonTotalbiscuit has been trying for months, no one that is anti gg seems to want to talk with him on camera10/23/2014 - 9:20pm
Neo_DrKefkaHey James check your twitter. Check with Totalbiscuit see if you can get a round table discussion stream going see if he can get some pro gg people and you can get some gamejournopros. Both sides have been hurt, doxxed its time every1 sits down and talks10/23/2014 - 9:05pm
Matthew Wilsonthe wiiu will support up to 8 gc controllers http://www.smashbros.com/us/howto/entry10.html10/23/2014 - 7:50pm
quiknkoldmewtwo is a timed free exclusive. you can purchase him if you dont have both.10/23/2014 - 7:15pm
Neo_DrKefka@Monte A month and a half ago we had a lot of streams about solutions now all the streams are KingofPol styled rants about getting drunk. All Gamergate is about to many is for people to use the movement to jump start careers.10/23/2014 - 7:12pm
Neo_DrKefkaWhose stream where you in James?10/23/2014 - 7:02pm
Matthew Wilsonyup they are holding mewtwo hostage lol10/23/2014 - 5:59pm
MaskedPixelanteApparently Mewtwo is going to be a free download to anyone who bought both versions of Smash 4.10/23/2014 - 5:41pm
TechnogeekYou would also think that if GG gave a shit about journalistic ethics, Game Informer would have been the very first line of their boycott list.10/23/2014 - 5:32pm
 

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