European Parliament Issues Press Release Explaining ACTA

February 21, 2012 -

The European Parliament has issued a press release entitled "What You Should Know About ACTA," detailing what ACTA is, who among the EU's member states has signed it and what has to happen for it to either be accepted or rejected.

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EU Court Rules Social Networks Can’t Be Forced to Block Copyrighted Material, Users

February 16, 2012 -

Social networks can't be forced to police their services for copyrighted material or block users, according to a new ruling from Europe's highest court. The court said that it could not be forced to these things because that burden would drive their costs up and infringe on users' privacy. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled on a case involving two Belgian companies at odds over copyright infringement: a music royalty collecting society called SABAM and the online social network Netlog.

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Bulgaria Will Not Act on ACTA Without EU Consensus

February 14, 2012 -

Like flies drowning in a summer cooler left to thaw in the August heat, countries that once considered the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) a grand idea worth supporting are walking away from it. The latest country to step back from ACTA is Bulgaria, according to Forbes. Recently, Germany said that it would hold off on ratifying the "executive agreement" signed by our president.

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European Parliament President Criticizes ACTA

February 13, 2012 -

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has criticized the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on German television, saying of the treaty that he does not "find it good in its current form." Schulz's comments came on the heels of protests throughout various countries in Europe - including Germany, Poland and the UK. Schulz went on to say that there is no balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of internet users, noting that it "is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement".

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British MEP Tapped to Inspect Text of ACTA

February 7, 2012 -

David Martin, a British MEP from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) party, has been asked to draw up the European Parliament's opinion on ACTA, after French Socialist MEP Kader Arif quit the position in protest of the lack of transparency related to ACTA's progress in the European Union Parliament.

"I want the Parliament to have a facts-based discussion and not a debate around myths," Martin said in a statement. "That is why I want to have an open debate with all concerned.”

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Some EU Members Delay Ratification of ACTA

February 7, 2012 -

ACTA protests around Europe have caused various European Union governments to suspend the endorsement of the anti-copyright infringement treaty. EU members Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all announced that they will delay ratifying the treaty. We've already mentioned the protests in Poland (where even members of Poland's government got involved by donning Guy Fawkes masks in parliament) and the Czech Republic's opposition, but we haven't talked about what the Slovakian government thinks of ACTA.

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Czech Republic Delays ACTA Ratification to Seek 'Expert' Advice

February 7, 2012 -

The Czech Personal Data Protection Office (UOOU) has written on its official web site that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is "unbalanced with regard to the existing legal guarantees of individuals´ rights."

In addition, Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) announced on Monday that the Czech Republic would suspend ratification of the treaty to further analyze its impact on the country's citizens.

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Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc Resigns

February 7, 2012 -

Romania's Prime Minister has resigned after three weeks of protests related to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and anti-austerity measures. While the ACTA protests probably didn't help, most believe the protests related to serious cuts in government jobs and pay, as well as tax hikes were the final nail in the coffin for the PM. Romania, which is the second poorest country in the European Union, is facing a debt crisis similar to that of Greece. And like Greece, Romania appealed to the International Monetary Fund to avoid an economic collapse.

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Malta Labour Party: ACTA Too Vague

January 31, 2012 -

Malta's Labour Party spokesman Michael Farrugia has told Malta Today that the Anti-Counterfeit Trading Agreement (ACTA) is too vague and, as a result, could do damage to generic pharmaceutical companies in Malta and Europe and infringe on Internet freedoms. He also complains about how the treaty was negotiated in a secretive and exclusive manner.

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AD Party Urges Vote Against ACTA in European Union Parliament

January 30, 2012 -

Malta's Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) party joins the European Greens in their call to discard the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The European Greens recently commissioned a study to see how ACTA squared with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (ECHR).

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Polish Politicians Say 'Fawkes You' to ACTA

January 26, 2012 -

While some politicians in Poland believe that signing the ACTA treaty was a smart idea - even in the midst of actual protesting in the streets (some put the number of protesters at 20,000 people), some have sided with the public. The picture to your left - found on TechDirt - shows that some politicians in the country have some sense. Today a whole gaggle of politicians donned famed Guy Fawkes masks in the Parliament to protest the vote.

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European Union Signs ACTA, But Future of Treaty in Doubt

January 26, 2012 -

While the European Union has officially signed ACTA - it's not all bad news for those worried about this anti-piracy treaty negotiated in secret. For one, it is an international treaty, which means that it has to be approved by the European Parliament.

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Move Over PIPA and SOPA, Here Comes ACTA

January 23, 2012 -

Silicon Republic points out something we have been talking about here for awhile: SOPA and PIPA are bad, but ACTA is much more dangerous and is about to be ratified by countries in Europe. Several European countries including Ireland, will throw their support behind ACTA later this week, joining the US, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

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European Regulators Want Answers on Carrier IQ

December 6, 2011 -

Watchdog groups and governments in Europe are taking a closer look at Carrier IQ's tracking software, to make sure those mobile phone vendors and operators who use it are not violating users' privacy or the law. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection recently sent a letter to Apple asking it how it uses Carrier IQ's software.

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EU Commission Grants 2.8 Million Euros to Technology Consortium

October 19, 2011 -

The EU Commission has handed out a 2.8 million Euro grant to four technology companies and two universities to develop the next generation of console hardware. Companies receiving a portion of the grant money include Edinburgh-based Codeplay, Cambridge-based Geomerics, AI company AiGameDev.com, and Greece-based Think Silicon. Germany's TU-Berlin and Sweden's Uppsala University, round out the group.

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Rocksmith Sidelined in Europe by Trademark Dispute

October 14, 2011 -

Ubisoft is facing a trademark complaint filed by a rock band that just happens to have the same name as one of its upcoming products. The claim has forced the company to delay the game in question in Europe and defend itself in court. The French publisher announced this morning that its music game Rocksmith won't be released in Europe until sometime in 2012, citing "music licensing" and "other external factors" as the causes.

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TIGA, EGDF Demand More Support from EU

August 17, 2011 -

UK video game industry trade group TIGA has joined forces with members of the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) to voice its concern that the new EU funding programs planned for media and culture and for research and innovation for 2013 - 2020 do not place "sufficient emphasis" on the video game development sector. The groups voiced their concerns at Gamescom this week in Cologne, Germany.

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TIGA, EGDF Push Game Industry Agenda to EU

May 25, 2011 -

UK games industry trade group TIGA announced this morning that it has formed a partnership with the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) to lobby the European Parliament for "improved access to finance for the video game industry." The EGDF has published a Report (Game Development and Digital Growth) which makes a series of recommendations for the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament. TIGA, along with other EDGF members, are pushing several game industry-related proposals to European policy makers in Brussels today.

Those proposals, according to TIGA's press announcement, include the following:

- Recognize video games as a form of cultural expression and make them eligible in all member states for public funding, as is the case with a growing number of non-European countries.

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EU Commissioner Promises Public Shame to Naughty ISPs

April 19, 2011 -

While Europe might be enacting new telecoms law on May 25, most of the new regulations avoid anything that might resemble net neutrality rules. But one politician is promising to do something to keep consumers happy and protected from the telecommunications industry. Like here in North America, these rules come off as all hat, no rabbit. Still, the EU commissioner promises action of a sort: shame.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes promises to keep an eye on any Internet problems that might arise from blocking, throttling, or lying to the public about actual connection speeds. If problems arise that can't be solved by changing ISPs, Kroes says she is prepared to legislate. But for now, the good commissioner says that she plans to publically shame ISPs into good behavior.

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EU Rules Says No to Net Neutrality Rules

April 19, 2011 -

The European Commission has decided that it will not pass legislation that makes Net Neutrality principles a matter of law. Instead they said that they would rely on existing law, media coverage outing unfair practices by the telecommunications industry and consumer complaints.

"I am determined to ensure that citizens and businesses in the EU can enjoy the benefits of an open and neutral internet, without hidden restrictions and at the speeds promised by their service providers," said Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda. "I am a firm believer in the principles of competition, which are at the core of the new enhanced telecom rules on transparency, quality of service and the ability to easily switch operators."

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Report: European Customs Confiscating New PS3 Shipments

February 28, 2011 -

According to a report in UK paper The Guardian, European Customs has been ordered to seize "Playstation shipments" because of a preliminary injunction against Sony - the result of a recent patent infringement claim filed with the civil court of justice in the Hague.

Because of the court's ruling, European Customs has been ordered to confiscate any new PS3's imported into the UK and the rest of Europe for at least 10 days.

For now, Sony has to rely on hardware already on store shelves or shipped prior to the injunction. The Guardian estimates that the company has enough stock on store shelves to last two - three weeks.

"We are currently looking into this matter, and cannot make any comments at this point in time," a representative for Sony Playstation told The Guardian.

LG declined to comment, although sources close to the company confirmed with the paper its current legal position.

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JoWooD Files for Bankruptcy

January 11, 2011 -

Austrian-based publisher JoWooD filed for insolvency (the equivalent of bankruptcy in the United States) late last week, ending a long struggle to stay afloat. The company filed for insolvency with Vienna's commercial court for a "procedure of capital reorganization." The company announced on the same day that efforts to shore up capital and equity failed. Despite the filing, JoWooD believes that it can conclude "successful discussions" with investors and its creditors "within 90 days."

JoWooD is also pursuing a lawsuit with Koch Media, claiming that the German publisher "underpaid" for 6.4 million shares it held in 2006. JoWooD claims that the shortfall for those shares amounts to $3.04 million plus interest owed. Under Austrian law, Koch Media would be liable for the shortfall, regardless of whose fault the miscalculation was.

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EU Dumps €275k into Pedestrian Looking "Government RPG"

August 30, 2010 -

The European Service Network (ESN), operating under a budget of 275,000 Euros (approximately $349,000 U.S.) from the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Communication, is developing an online role-playing game—and social networking forum—that it hopes will capture “the essence of European Parliament.”

Named Citzalia, the online experience was compared to Second Life and will have users create an avatar before being able to,  “navigate around a virtual recreation of the actual Parliament, to create content, and to involve themselves in virtual law-making.”

ASA: UK Heavy Rain Ads Not All Wet

May 12, 2010 -

A series of television ads run in the UK for the PlayStation 3 game Heavy Rain rankled a few feathers due to their timing and violence.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reported receiving 38 complaints in response to four Heavy Rain ads, with viewers criticizing the violence of the ads and a perceived glamorization of violence. The objectors also worried that the ads were run at a time of day when children could view them.

The last complaint about the ads was that they were run around the same time that a shop keeper in Huddersfield was killed in an armed robbery. The Heavy Rain ads all depicted a scene in which a shop keeper was repeatedly threatened by an armed man with Heavy Rain character Scott Shelby watching. The versions differed in how the Shelby reacted to the situation; he either intervened, attacked or negotiated with the armed robber.

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U.S. Gamers Play More Than EU Counterparts

September 30, 2009 -

83% of the U.S. population plays games, enough to eclipse their equals across the pond from a small selection of European countries.

GamesIndustry.com recently disclosed results from its Today’s Gamer series of surveys, which polled populations in the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.

Runner-up to the U.S., in terms of the total percentage of the population playing games, was the U.K., with 73%, followed by the Dutch (70%), Belgium (67%), Germany (65%) and France (63%).

U.S. gamers also led the way in hours spent playing per week, averaging 10.5 hours, almost double that of the second place French, who averaged 5.5 hours a week gaming.

In every country surveyed, at least 60% of the population over the age of eight played games. More graphs are available for viewing here. Specific reports for each European country are also available.

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Basing Tax Breaks on Culture Test is Problematic, Says Head of Euro Game Devs

July 6, 2009 -

France and England both mandate that video game projects be culturally relevant in order to qualify for financial incentives. But the head of the European Game Developers Federation told gamesindustry.biz that such requirements make little sense either culturally or as a matter of economic policy.

Guillaume de Fondaumiere (left), who is also an exec with Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, spoke to gi.biz at the recent GameHorizon conference:

The cultural test is a problem... When you look at [European Union] rules, you have to ask: 'Actually, what is culture?' It's a national decision, so it's kind of weird that we, as the videogame industry, have to work with standards that other cultural areas don't have to follow.

To me, all games are cultural. Videogames aren't just a form of entertainment, but a true form of cultural expression, and I think that in twenty years' time this will be a given. No one will dispute that any more...

We know that tax breaks are extremely effective in stimulating an industry, and I think again that Montreal and Quebec have shown us the way...

So I think it's high time for governments, and the EU, to understand that money given in the form of tax breaks to the industry is not money thrown away. It's an investment with a very high return, so it's time that we had those breaks.

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In Europe, ElderGames Project Completes First Round of Testing

May 27, 2009 -

It wasn't that long ago that Nintendo's Brain Age for the DS was trumpeted as a way to help senior citizens stay sharp. But the European Union's ElderGames project takes the concept of using video games to stimulate aging minds to a whole new level.

e Health Europe reports that ElderGames has successfully completed its first round of trials in Spain, Norway and the UK. The system utilizes a small table with a flat panel display embedded on top. Players sit around the table and play games with one another.

The three-year-old project is funded by the EU and employs a suite of 20 games designed to help seniors sharpen their cognitive, functional and social skills. Each players' progess is tracked over time and caregivers receive early warning of cognitive deterioration. Project coordinator Malena Fabregat told e Health Europe:

There are many studies showing that play and leisure activities correlate to life satisfaction, this is one area where ElderGames has proven itself.

The experts were able to get high-quality individual information from these group activities, which multiplied their ability to monitor and assess the people they were responsible for.

We’ve had some very good reactions to the prototype [from video game companies], we’ll have to see what happens next.


European Union Wants a Two-Year Guarantee on Game Software

May 15, 2009 -

Consumers would be guaranteed that their games would work for two years under a proposal being considered by the European Union Commission.

The BBC reports that Commissioners Viviane Reding and Meglena Kuneva want to expand current consumer protection regulations to include licensed software. Such a move would encompass games as well as virtually every other type of software. Of the proposal, an EU spokeswoman said:

The current status quo, where licensed products are exempt from EU law, is unsatisfactory... On the one hand there is the risk of abuse [by consumers], but on the other it's not a good enough reason to say basic consumer protection should not apply.

While anyone who has struggled to get a PC game to run will appreciate the intent of the proposal, the video game industry has not reacted with enthusiasm. Is anyone surprised? Dr. Richard Wilson, who heads game developers' lobbying group Tiga, told the BBC that the new regulations could stifle innovation:

Consumers need good quality products - that is only reasonable - but if the legislation is too heavy-handed it could make publishers and developers very cautious... Games takes years to develop and software teams often have to predict what new technology will be in place when the game is actually finished.

If there is an onus on developers to have software that is 'near perfect' then it could stifle new ideas as people could end up just playing it safe.

Meanwhile, Francisco Mingorance of the Business Software Alliance had the best line of the day (even if he is spinning the issue of behalf of Microsoft, Apple and other big corporations):

Digital content is not a tangible good and should not be subject to the same liability rules as toasters.

GP: We still have fond memories of those flying toasters from the After Dark screen saver.

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Nintendo Price-fixing Fine Lowered by EU Court

May 1, 2009 -

The U.K.'s Channel 4 News reports that a panel of European Union judges have reduced a price-fixing fine levied against Nintendo in 2002:

The Japanese game maker and seven of its distributors were given fines totalling just over £150 million by the Commission for breaching EU fair competition rules by trying to keep prices artificially high in some countries during the 1990s.

The vast proportion of the total was against the parent company - one of the biggest fines meted out by the EU's powerful fair competition authority to reflect what the Commission said was Nintendo's role as "the driving force behind the illicit behaviour".

But Nintendo appealed to the EU's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, where judges ruled that the Commission should have taken account of Nintendo's level of co-operation in the price-rigging inquiry.

Nintendo's fine was reduced from £134 million to £107 million.

Via: Edge Online 

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European Parliament to Hold Video Game Conference

April 9, 2009 -

The European Parliament will convene a video game conference next week, reports Edge Online.

The gathering will promote the economic and cultural benefits of the game business. Dutch MEP Jules Maaten (left), who is coordinating the event, said:

Europe has to encourage the further development of creative sectors like the games industry. Everybody would gain from such additional focus: the developers, the economy, but also the consumer and I’m advocating an EU programme for the stimulation of the European games industry.

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Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
InfophileRelevant to our discussion of rape in fiction yesterday: http://www.wired.com/2015/06/rape-scenes/07/01/2015 - 4:58am
Mattsworknameof players, over and over for the last seveal years. Among non RPG games, which make up the vast majority of current games, I think that you still see a large scale disparity between male and female in the AAA industry.07/01/2015 - 1:36am
Mattsworknamewilson. Out of RPG players yes, thats true, and in pc ciricles im not suprised, but RPGS make a small fraction of Console games these days and while pc gaming is seeing a resurgance, MMOs are actually retracting in size , as shown by WOW losing millions07/01/2015 - 1:33am
Matthew Wilsonhere is the study to prove it. http://www.pcgamer.com/researchers-find-that-female-pc-gamers-outnumber-males/07/01/2015 - 1:17am
Matthew Wilson@matt wrong over half of rpg players, both singleplayer and mmos, are female.07/01/2015 - 1:15am
MechaCrashRight, women don't usually play AAA games because none are aimed at them because they don't play them because none are aimed at them because okay you see where I'm going with this.07/01/2015 - 1:11am
MattsworknameI think the better path is this, more games built to give you the Choice of playing as male or female, and give the females good voice actors07/01/2015 - 1:08am
Mattsworknameup more then a fraction of the AAA games industry, but they make up a much larger part of the moble market.07/01/2015 - 1:04am
Mattsworknameandrew is right, to a point, as you are seeing a slow increase of women in games, but the sales shows that the lions share of gaming money comes from a male demo, and while andrew is right that it is changing, it's gonna be a LONG time before women make07/01/2015 - 1:04am
Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, the ball is rolling and it's rolling in the right direction. Maybe not as fast as we'd like, but it is moving. All we can do is play the games that interest us and make our thoughts known.06/30/2015 - 11:55pm
Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
Andrew EisenOr, at the very least, that gamers aren't turned off by female leads.06/30/2015 - 11:49pm
Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm
 

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