Blizzard launched the beta test of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft this week, even as it prepared to sue a copycat game running on iOS and Android being served to gamers in China.
According to MMO Culture, Blizzard and its partner in the region NetEase have filed a lawsuit in China's courts alleging that the iOS and Android game Legend of Crouching Dragon seems to have borrowed core elements from Hearthstone including its card designs, values and game mechanics.
Level Up Labs co-founder Lars Doucet has created and deployed a Wikia directory page called WhoLetsPlay that informs video content creators which publishers allow monetized Let's Play videos and which do not. The Wikia page divides publishers into three groups:
YES - Allows Let's Play AND allows them to be monetized.
MAYBE - Might allow monetization under some circumstances, or it is unknown.
No - Does not allow monetization.
Indie developers including the makers of The Witness, Thomas Was Alone, VVVVVV, and Ridiculous Fishing, are railing against YouTube and Google over their new copyright detection policies after being the target of false copyright claims on videos of their own games.
Mike Bithell, creator of puzzle platformer game Thomas Was Alone, was the target of a claim by a group called 'Indmusic' for "systematically" claiming rights to footage of his game. He lashed out at the group via Twitter:
In an email to YouTube content creators yesterday (obtained by Kotaku), Google defended its automated "Content ID" system deployed last week and offered some advice on what those affected by it could do if they feel they have become the target of a false copyright claim.
Google has implemented a new system that auto detects content that is supposedly in breach of copyright this week, and it is affecting many YouTube stars. They are claiming that dozens or even hundreds of their videos are being removed. Since these claims are automatic because of the new system, many game companies who own the copyrights in question are doing their best to help those affected by the new system.
A few days ago, indie developer Ryan Sharr accused 505 Games of ripping of his game, Roam.
Roam is a zombie survival game where players must scavenge a ravaged world for the tools you'll need to survive the zombie hordes. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter last February.
Three months later, 505 Games announced How to Survive, a zombie survival game where players must scavenge a ravaged world for the tools you'll need to survive the zombie hordes.
Canadian Internet rights group La Quadrature du Net warns that a trade treaty between Canada and the European Union will ultimately hurt internet freedoms in both regions if its ratified. CETA recently reached "agreement in principle" status during a meeting between José Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Stefen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister.
On this week's show, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest GamePolitics poll, the controversy over a crunch time tweet from Crytek, the cost of Six Strikes, a special needs student being suspended from school for drawing a bomb, and an Illinois State Attorney calling for an "economic boycott" of GTA V. Download Episode 74 now: SuperPAC Episode 74 (1 hour, 12 minutes) 33.1 MB.
Two years ago the MPAA and RIAA teamed up with five major Internet providers to put together a voluntary (for ISPs, not their customers) "six strikes" anti-piracy plan. The interested parties founded the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), incorporated as a non-profit company in Delaware. While the goals of the CCI have been pretty transparent, its finances have been mostly shrouded in secret. At the time of its founding, ISPs joining the scheme and copyright owners agreed to evenly share the cost of the organization and the scheme.
Last week we asked readers, "Will Capcom sue the Mighty No. 9 devs for infringement of its Mega Man IP?" While there was no clear majority opinion, around 35 percent of the 301 votes cast concluded that Capcom will ignore the game altogether.
Former Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling will be selling off some of his assets, according to the website for Consign Works. No doubt the money will go to pay down legal fees and the debt that was the result of defaulting on a $75 million loan guarantee with the State of Rhode Island, which is currently suing Schilling and others related to that deal.
Last month, developer Comcept launched a Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9, a new video game that is counting on your love of Mega Man for its success.
Seriously, almost every sentence of the project's pitch name drops the Blue Bomber.
"Classic Japanese side-scrolling action, evolved and transformed by Keiji Inafune, an all-star team of veteran Mega Man devs..." (Note: Inafune is the character designer/producer behind most of the Mega Man games. He left Capcom in 2010)
Gold Fire Studios recently learned that its latest gameplay trailer for Casino RPG has been hit with a terms of service violation and has been removed from their channel. This was the trailer produced for the recent public beta launch of the game.
According to this TorrentFreak article, the trade groups representing the music and movie industry are indoctrinating kindergartners in the state of California with an "educational program" about "sharing creative works." The Center for Copyright Information, a partnership between the MPAA, RIAA and five of the largest Internet providers in the United States, are teaching copyright classes in California public schools.
If you are using AT&T as your service provider and you are accused of copyright infringement by a rights holder, you could end up losing your internet access if you don't pay attention to the notices the company sends you as part of its compliance with the "six strikes" system to fight copyright infringement online.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is warning American citizens that something foul is happening in D.C. related to trade agreements and copyright laws. According to the EFF, U.S. lawmakers want to pass a bill that limits their own ability to improve or remove language in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Yes, you have read that correctly.
Finland has made history as being the first country to present a copyright law to lawmakers that was crafted by citizens. Last year Finland passed a law changing its constitution to allow its citizens to propose legislation if they obtained 50,000 signatures. Fast-forward to 2013 and citizens have managed to get fairer copyright law before legislators in the country because they managed to get the required support from fellow citizens.
Some game developers in China are known for taking liberties with copyrighted material (read: ignoring copyrights altogether), but a MOBA-style game called 300 Heroes pointed out by Crusader Cast is probably the most blatant mash-ups of stolen material you'll ever see.
If rights holders had their way they would have the ability to install rootkits and deploy malware that would include Ransomeware (restricted access to your computer until you pay them a fee) on to the computer systems of hackers and illegal file downloaders in order to fight piracy and cyber attacks. This may sound a little too over-the-top, but these are just some of the crazy ideas presented in a new report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
Back in March La Quadrature du Net (a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet) joined 47 European and International organizations in asking the European Parliament to exclude provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called intellectual property from the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
As detailed in this May 7 story, indie studio Notion Games indicated that Ubisoft had asked it to change the name of its game Super Ubi Land to something else to avoid the implication that the game was somehow associated with the French publisher. At the time Notion Games said that it would do just that and that it understood where Ubisoft was coming from.
Nintendo has decided to target "Let's Play" videos on YouTube with "content ID match" claims, according to multiple reports this morning. By making these claims it allows Nintendo to either block content or monetize the video. This is not sitting well with Let's Play video makers like Zack Scott whose videos have been targeted by Nintendo.
Finally members of Congress have put forth serious DMCA reform legislation and rights groups are praising it right out of the gate. The new legislation is called the "Unlocking Technology Act of 2013," and is sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO). The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 legalizes unlocking cell phone unlocking and modifies the DMCA so that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it's done in order to "facilitate the infringement of a copyright."
World of Tanks developer Wargaming.net has filed a lawsuit against Changyou.com and Beijing Gamease Age Digital Technology Co. in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant(s) "stole" Wargaming.net's intillectual property to create an online tank game called "Project Tanks" that is "disturbingly similar" to World of Tanks. Wargaming.net is using the law firm Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Responding to the widespread reporting that the "Nyan Cat" creator and "Keyboard Cat" creator sued Warner Bros. over the inclusion of the Internet memes in the game Scribblenauts Unlimited, Christopher "Nyan" Orlando Torres said that he tried to talk to Warner Bros. about the issue but was disrespected on multiple occasions.
Warner Bros. Interactive is no stranger to the fighting battles about trademarks and copyrights in courts, but a case filed by two Internet meme creators has the industry giant in a role reversal. According to this NeoGAF thread Charles "Keyboard" Schmidt (Keyboard Cat meme) and Christopher "Nyan" Orlando Torres (Nyan Cat meme) filed a lawsuit against publisher Warner Bros.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its 2013 Special 301 Report, detailing regions outside of the United States that are havens for piracy and do not enforce US copyrights. At the top of that list (which mentions 40 different countries) is Russia. Russia is named in the Priority Watch List, along with Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Pakistan. China gets a lot of attention in this particular report, as does Russia.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced yesterday plans to conduct a serious of hearings aimed at identifying problems with U.S. copyright laws and updating them for the modern digital age. Goodlatte was a key sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year alongside the bill's author, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).