The United States District Court for Northern California has sided with Activision in a case brought against it by military patch maker Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. for including one of its trademarked patches in Call of Duty: Ghosts. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg said that the plaintiff's trademarked Angry Monkey patch used by Activision was covered as protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Europol has seized 292 web domains that were being used to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, according to the BBC. These domains were allegedly being used to sell fake versions of luxury goods such as sportswear, electronics, movies, video games, pharmaceutical drugs, music, and more. Anyone visiting those sites will now see an "educational" message on copyright crime.
A fan-made project to recreate the Troika Games-developed Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (originally published by Activision) using Unity has been shut down by CCP Games.
CCP Games owns the popular vampire-themed RPG world now, and according to the group behind Project Vaulderie, it has sent them a Cease and Desists letter. The non-commercial remake has been put on hold, but the developers are continue to explore ways to make the project a reality at some point.
According to this GamesBeat report, Glu Mobile has filed a lawsuit against mobile game studio Hothead Games for allegedly copying its popular Deer Hunter 2014 mobile game with its game Kill Shot. In Kill Shot, you don't hunt animals; you play as a sniper that hunts enemy targets. But Glu alleges in a federal lawsuit filed in the San Francisco court that Hothead’s game violates copyright and trade infringement laws.
It's that time again at the U.S. Copyright Office: every three years the agency in charge of all things copyright-related accepts petitions on activities that should be exempt under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 2014 is one of those years, but the deadline is Monday, November 3.
Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at Public Knowledge tells Ars Technica that it's not too difficult to submit a petition, but recommends petitioners keep it under five or six pages long and be specific on what the exemption request will accomplish that serves the greater good.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has to share his personal financial information with Hollywood, according to a ruling by the New Zealand High Court. While Hollywood (or rather, those in Hollywood suing him) will be given access to his financial information, the public will not be provided with this information.
Back in August SNK Playmore filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, alleging that the company had engaged in "criminal copyright infringement" by using over 100 instances of unauthorized depictions of SNK Playmore characters in its Hi Score Girl manga.
This also led to the Consumer and Economic Crime Division of the Osaka, Japan Police raiding the local offices of Square-Enix to gather evidence.
This week in Chevy Chase, Michigan the seventh round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are taking place. Once again trade officials from participating countries that are negotiating this trade agreement are doing so behind closed doors and keeping any draft documents created a secret. As was the case with ACTA and with TTP, these negotiations have zero transparency outside of those involved in them and the interested parties invited to the table.
A new law in the United Kingdom makes it legal for citizens to make backups of their legally purchased CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books. Consumers can store these backup copies on home PCs or in the cloud, according to the BBC. Obviously it is still illegal to share these backup copies with friends, family, or with the Internet community at large. Prior to this change in the law, it was illegal to rip CDs locally or for use with iTunes.
This Imgur! page suggests that the code powering Hyperkin's RetroN 5 borrows liberally from several open sourced emulators. Hyperkin's RetroN 5 is an all-in-one console system that lets consumers play games for NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, & Game Boy Advance. It features enhanced resolutions, HDMI output, improved sound, screenshot capture capabilities, and the ability to create and load saves states on demand.
Candy Crush Saga maker King has settled its copyright case against 6waves, has received an undisclosed sum of money, and has ensured the closure of 6waves' Farm Epic and Treasure Epic games - two games it claims were infringing on its copyrights.
"We are pleased that this matter has now been resolved," commented King's chief legal officer Robert Miller.
An appellate case in court this week brought by former NFL players over the use of their likenesses in video games created by Electronic Arts could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to William Ford, a professor who teaches intellectual property law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
This week the White House nominated an entertainment industry lawyer to be the new "piracy czar." The job's main function is to coordinate intellectual property enforcement efforts at various federal-level government agencies. The new czar will be Danny Marti, who replaces Victoria Espinel; she left last year to take the reins of lobbying group, The Software Alliance, or the BSA.
Game streaming service Hitbox took a few hard shots at competitor Twitch this week after the service implemented new copyright rules and changed the way streamers can archive content.
In a blog post deriding Twitch and promoting its own service (of course), Hitbox said that forcing a 30 second or more delay on streams and applying its new automated copyright enforcement system on VODs is a "slap in the face of everyone who tries to share their passion for gaming with the world."
In a Reddit AMA, Twitch CEO Emmet Shear said that in-game music getting muted was a mistake. Shear said that the target of the mass muting of archived streams was music played in the background that was not licensed ("ambient music"). He also acknowledged in the thread that some accidental mutings occurred and that they are looking into fixing that problem. He acknowledged that it was also probably a bad idea to roll out all of this stuff without first announcing it to the community.
Twitch is making preparations for something big, and while some of those changes don't impact broadcasters and viewers all that much, the latest action by the video game streaming service will make a lot of people mad.
The prevailing rumor is that Twitch will be acquired by Google through its YouTube division later this year for $1 billion or more. And while both Google and Twitch have not publicly talked about the deal, Twitch has done a few things this week that would indicate it is getting its house in order.
UK households that repeatedly pirate music, movies, and other copyrighted material online will receive warning letters beginning in 2015. Beyond that, the new informational initiative to educate the UK populace on the ills of piracy and where to find legal sources for content seems to have no punitive component attached to it.
"We don't need more copyright," says Chapman University law professor Tom Bell in a new video interview with Libertarian publication Reason.com. "Probably we could dial it back and still enjoy this great wealth of culture that's been generated, that's already in our libraries."
Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock Entertainment are free to use the word "rebellion" in the name of its latest real-time strategy game (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion) because it is protected by the First Amendment, a U.S. judge ruled last month. The news of the ruling was revealed by Ironclad co-owner Blair Fraser in a forum post celebrating the victory - as reported on by Polygon.
Valve Software has banned a couple of Steam Community contributors and released a statement to its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive creators, according to this Gamasutra report. The community content creators allegedly used artwork for one of the most popular user-created weapons in the game that they did not own.
The open sourced flight simulation game FlightGear has been around on the most popular PC operating systems since 1997. It is frequently updated too, with new aircraft added once in awhile. But one aircraft won't be in the game any longer, thanks to Honda. Honda decided to send a takedown request last week to the makers of the game related to the inclusion of one of its jets. The company told the makers of the game that including it was an infringement of its trademarks.
Dungeons and Dragons and Magic The Gathering owner Wizards of the Coast has filed a lawsuit against Cryptozoic Entertainment and Hex Entertainment related to their digital card game Hex: Shards of Fate. According to the lawsuit the digital collectible card game is a clone of the popular card game Magic: The Gathering.
It will soon be legal to rips CDs, DVDs, and other media in the United Kingdom, according to this TorrentFreak report. The UK government has released a guide informing its citizenry that an upcoming revision of copyright laws in the country which will make it perfectly legal to make backup copies of CD and DVDs for personal use. Those changes will be in effect this summer.