In episode 11 of Social Change Technology, London-based solicitor Jas Purewal from legal firm Osborne Clark spoke to the Virtual Policy Network (VPN) for a gaming and technology legal news roundup. Jas is also the founder and editor of the Gamer Law web site and is known as @GamerLaw on Twitter.
Listen to the whole episode here
In this episode Jas discusses three items of recent news: the Infinity Ward case, the state of free-to-play gaming and the UK courts ordering a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block the Pirate Bay website, a popular online index of digital content.
Infinity Ward case
The Infinity Ward case involves one of the highest grossing video game franchises of all time, Call of Duty (CoD), currently estimated to have generated revenues in the region of US$3 billion.
The case involves an acrimonious split between the developers of CoD, Infinity Ward, and the publishers, Activision. Allegations also arose in relation to the publisher Electronic Arts and their alleged dealings with Infinity Ward.
This, as Jas points out, was an altercation between the aristocracy of the video game industry and marks a coming-of-age for the industry as a whole, as more established industries including film and television saw similar disputes as they started to reach maturity.
The question of free-to-play is one that has arisen through a number of recent news stories relating mainly, but not always, to children spending considerable sums of money on games that are initially free but subsequently involve a micropayment-charging mechanism. The question that these news headlines raise is whether this aspect of the industry should come under closer scrutiny and perhaps regulation in one form or another.
Lastly, Jas talks about the landmark case in the United Kingdom where a number of ISPs were ordered to block the popular Pirate Bay website. While rights holders argue that this is a case of reasonable measure to protect intellectual property, others suggest that it amounts to state censorship of the internet and may open doors to political censorship of online content.