The Red Cross has begun to take it a little more seriously that game developers’ use of the Red Cross emblem has been rampant in years past. The Red Cross recently wrote an open letter to the video game industry, requesting a dialogue to discuss the proper and legal uses of the Red Cross emblem (if any). The letter was addressed to a law firm, but no specific games were mentioned. Rather, the letter mentions that the practice of illegally using the Red Cross emblem has been widespread, and the Red Cross is seeking to curtail such use in the future.
MarketWatch reports that the video game industry grew 6% in 2005, weighing in at $10.5 billion. That’s quite a sum of money, given that as reported by Fox, box office receipts for the movie industry were below $9 billion in 2005. Ironically, the market for flagship game consoles and related software shrank, allegedly due in part to the supply shortages of the new Xbox 360.
Other random industry samples for 2005:
- Father’s day gifts – $8.23 billion
- Used books – $2 billion
- Aerospace industry – $170 billion
- U.S. beef industry – $78 billion
- Live Auctions – $217.2 billion
- Halloween – $3.3 billion
- Residential water treatment – $2.6 billion
- U.S. sales of generic drugs – $28 billion
- Search engine marketing – $5.75 billion
- Hot tea – $6.8 billion
- Hot Coffee – Well, that’s another IP issue entirely.
I can’t wait for next year…
Following up on a previous post, two Hollywood video game store owners and a third man who were charged in December for allegedly pirating video games and installing them on modified Microsoft Corp. Xbox consoles were indicted on Thursday, according to the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have charged three men with copyright infringement for selling modified Xbox consoles that enabled the original video game machine from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT – news) to play pirated games.
Jones and Bryant demonstrated the modified Xbox game consoles in their Melrose Avenue store. They charged from $225 to more than $500 for the modifications, depending on the extent of the modifications and the number of games preloaded onto the hard drive, according to a statement from prosecutors and the complaint affidavit obtained by Reuters.
Ever want to own a video game? Now’s your chance. The bankruptcy trustee for Acclaim is auctioning off their portfolio, around 200 games! Some have bids, but some are just waiting for a bidder. Who knows what the IP includes, so do your due diligence, or else you’ll get what you pay for. There are a number of interesting titles in there, and more that its share of duds.
There not only is money in making video games, but as is quickly becoming more evident, there is also money in PLAYING video games. The two most popular methods are item farming in MMOGs, and professional video game tournaments.
For those who thought anyone who just played video games would never amount to anythiny, talk to Jonathan Wendel, aka Fatal1ty. On November 23, 2005, Jon won the Cyberathlete Professional League World Tour Grand Finals and the $150,000 payday that goes with it. Being that the Xbox 360 just launched a few days ago, I will keep this short, as I have practicing to do…
Read CNN news story.
Today marks the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox360 game console and upgraded Xbox Live online gaming service. Interesting is the inclusion of Gotham TV on Project Gotham Racing 3, where anyone can spectate live races. Unlike previous games that allow spectating, you don’t have to be in the game session to watch it. That means anyone can watch it, not just the 8 or 16 people in the game. I would hesitate to call these “public” broadcasts, since you have to pay to play, but there is undoubtably IP in these broadcasts. What steps are being taken to protect it? It raises some interesting new questions on which I suspect people will start commentary very shortly.
Is the price of virtual property getting out of hand? Jon Jacobs, a Miami resident, has bought a virtual space station in the game Project Entropia for $100,000 and wants to turn it into a cross between Jurassic Park and a disco. Mr. Jacobs plans to hire famous DJs to entertain visitors one a week or so at the “resort” space station (which he calls Club Neverdie), and thinks he can net $20,000/month (real money) from the “hunting tax and other income.”
In an interesting twist, Mr. Jacobs bought the space station from the game developer itself, MindArk PE AB. This raises some interesting legal implications regarding the developer’s ability to shut the game down. If the game goes under tomorrow, does Mr. Jacobs get his money back. I sure hope he didn’t mortgage his house for that purchase… oh wait, he did! The deal was brokered by IGE, a broker of game property.
In a major video game IP licensing deal, Atari has licensed the Unreal 3 game engine and related development tools from Epic Games to develop games for next-generation platforms. With the Unreal and Doom engines being the only two FPS engine families out there, licensing of source code and development tools can be a tidy little income stream for Epic Games and id Software.
Banner & Witcoff is pleased to announce that a legal team representing prominent video-game manufacturers and developers–Team Play, Inc., P&P Marketing, Inc., and Cosmodog, Ltd.–prevailed on a motion for summary judgment of no copyright infringement in Team Play et al. v. Stephen W. Boyer d/b/a Skyboy Productions.
The two, full-size, arcade, video games at issue on this motion were Sharpshooter and Police Trainer® 2. In 1997, P&P Marketing paid Mr. Boyer on a contract development basis to make portions of the Sharpshooter game. P&P Marketing then manufactured and sold the Sharpshooter game. Years later, Cosmodog independently created a video game called Police Trainer® 2. Cosmodog contracted with Team Play to manufacture and sell Police Trainer® 2. As a result of the foregoing, Mr. Boyer claimed that Team Play, P&P Marketing, and Cosmodog allegedly infringed Mr. Boyer’s copyright registration in the Sharpshooter game.
On September 29, 2005, a federal court in Chicago held that there was no copying of source code from Sharpshooter to Police Trainer® 2. In addition, the Court held that there was no substantial similarity between any of the graphical art in the two games.
The legal team on this case representing Team Play, P&P Marketing, and Cosmodog included Banner & Witcoff attorneys Tim Meece, Mark Banner, and Jason Shull as well as Sheri Pellegrini from the Law Offices of Sheri Pellegrini. The decision citation is Team Play, Inc. v. Boyer, __ F.Supp.2d __, 2005 WL 2413344 (N.D.Ill. Sep 28, 2005) (NO. 03 C 7240).
As summarized by David Webber of the Melbourne office of Davies Collison Cave in Australia, the Australian High Court has allowed an appeal by Eddie Stevens who was previously found to have circumvented a technical protection measure in Sony’s PlayStation console.
“The High Court considered that the PlayStation did not include a ‘technical protection measure’, as defined in the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) because it did not prevent any copyright infringement. It was considered that any infringement would have already occurred through burning a CD-ROM for play in the console, and the mod chip installed by Mr Stevens was used for a different purpose, ie subsequent play of the game. Based on the evidence submitted by Sony, it was not established that any infringement under the Act occurred merely by playing the game.”
This is yes another example of a hollywood director teaming up with a major video game developer. Perhaps people will begin to take IP rights in video games a little more seriously…
The events over the past week down in New Orleans are simply tragic. The repercussions will be far reaching, long felt, and immense in scale. Even the Patent Arcade was down for a few days because our ISP is in the French Quarter (not that that compares to the tragedies that hurricane victims have had to endure, it’s just an indication of the far reaching repercussions of Katrina). Thus, in the vein of the Patent Arcade, it’s nice to see the gaming community doing something to help out.
Bungie, developer of Halo and Halo 2, is selling “Fight the Flood” t-shirts, and every cent of profit goes to hurricane relief. On top of that, all profit from the Bungie online store in the month of September, 2005, also goes to hurricane relief. Want to help out, and have a cool t-shirt to show for it? Buy one.