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.
In an elegant display of its interopability, developer Newbie has demonstrated the Xbox 360’s ability to connect to portable media devices such as the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and iPod devices. Read more at Team Xbox.
On July 25, 2005, the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the Western District of Missouri’s dismissal of Frosty Treat’s complaint against Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. Frosty Treats asserted claims under state and federal law for trademark infringement and dilution, and for unfair competition, based on Son’y depiction of an ice cream truck and clown character in Sony’s Twisted Metal video game series. A complete case summary will be forthcoming, but for now the opinion can be obtained here.
The ‘hot coffee’ mod for Grand Theft Auto resulted in the game’s rating being changed from Mature to Adults Only. Many games not only don’t mind modding, but the game’s developer actually encourages it. There any many legal implications to modding, and who owns the resultant IP. See, for example, Microstar v. Formgen Inc., 154 F.3d 1107 (9th Cir. 1998).
But that’s not the point of this post. I just wanted to point out a Yahoo! article with some interesting musings about modding.
Microsoft Corp. said on Thursday it won exclusive rights to develop and publish multiplayer online games starring Marvel Enterprises Inc.’s super heroes, including Spider-man, the X-men and the Hulk. The deal covers massively multiplayer online (MMO) game titles developed for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox 360 gaming console and published by the software giant’s game studio.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has hinted that the company is considering licensing the software underlying the Xbox games console to outside companies, in a bid to expand its market share.
Want to play massively multiplayer online games, but don’t want to spend time building up your character’s stats? A new service, GamePal.com, gives anyone the ability to bypass the countless hours it can take to advance deep into online games like World of Warcraft by renting the use of such characters by the month.
Read more here.
From today’s Washington Post Express:
“GAMERS: In an apparent first, the Kansas City T-Bones and Schaumburg Flyers will let the results of two people’s X-Box [sic] baseball game count for the first two innings of a July 18 game. Then the minor league teams will take the firld in the third.”
A friend of ours forwarded us this link to “A Gamer’s Manifesto.” It’s an interesting read, and I agree with some of it’s “20 things gamers want from the seventh generation of game consoles.” Item 15 includes commentary on “Short-Sighted Business Bull$%!&” and refers to patenting video games.
(Warning: foul-language is used generously throughout the article like an episode of Penn & Teller’s Showtime show. The authors might be taken more seriously if they approached the issue with a little more decorum, as many of their points are valid… although not number 15.)