Legal Series: Preserving Abandoned Videogames Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – What Videogame Lawyers and Publishers Need to Know in 2016
Under Section 1201, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the circumvention of 'technological measures that effectively control access to a work' is illegal. However, some exemptions include government research and reverse engineering.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group, has faced off against the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), representing most major video game publishers in the US. The EFF wants to allow video game players to put abandoned server dependent games back online and has asked the US Copyright Office for an exemption under the DMCA. This includes games such as Battlefield 1942, Star Wars: Battlefront, SOCOM 4, Destiny, and others.
Section 1201 is often used by the entertainment industries not to prevent copyright infringement, but to control markets and to exclude competitors. As predicted, the ESA opposes the exemption, arguing that modifying game code constitutes 'hacking' and would encourage 'piracy' since systems such as Xbox 360 or Wii would need to be 'jail-broken'.
The Knowledge Group has assembled a panel of key thought leaders and practitioners to provide a two hour, LIVE Webcast to provide an overview and discussion of Preserving Abandoned Videogames Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - What Videogame Lawyers and Publishers Need to Know in 2016.
Key topics include:
- DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Provisions - An Overview
- ESA vs. EFF
- Implications of the Proposed DMCA Exemption
- Possible Preservation Challenges
- Up-to-the-Minute Regulatory Updates
Deborah R. Gerhardt, Associate Professor
UNC School of Law
- Like music was for children of the 60’s and 70’s, video games are of enormous cultural importance to American youth.
- Our children learn essential skills in gaming: build friendships, learn how to collaborate and share, learning how to build, plan and dream.
- When children purchase games, they don’t understand them to be permission slips. They understand them to be a lasting opportunity for imagination and shared experience.
- Current copyright law may make it a criminal offense if a child has the entrepreneurial spirit to revive a game that a developer no longer offers. Until the law is changed, we will talk about how to revive a game while avoiding criminal liability.
- Industry leaders should set up a best practices norm that turns fair use into a verb.
Steven A. Gibson, Managing Partner
Gibson Lowry LLP
- Relevant exemptions associated with operability or interoperability in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act;
- Relevant jurisprudence interpreting said exemptions;
- Economic and public policy considerations of said exemptions;
- Applicability of exemption analysis to abandoned video games.
Vernon A. Nelson Jr. , Partner
- Alternatives to abandonware
- DMCA Enforcement issues
Who Should Attend:
- IP and Related Attorneys
- Patent Attorneys
- Patent Consultants
- Videogame Lawyers
- Videogame Publishers
- Compliance Professionals
- Technology Attorneys
- In-House Counsel
- Other Related/Interested Professionals or Organizations
Deborah R. Gerhardt is an Associate Professor at the UNC School of Law. She specializes in the intersection of law and creativity and has written leading articles in trademark and copyright law, art law, false advertising and plagiarism. With West Publishing, Professor Gerhardt recently co-authored its first bridge to practice contracts text. She received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to support research to clarify whether art and historical documents are protected by copyright or in the public domain.
Professor Gerhardt teaches Art Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Contracts and a practical writing seminar on intellectual property strategies and transactions. She secured UNC a slot in the USPTO's pilot clinical program and led the effort to launch Carolina's Intellectual Property Clinic where she teaches students practical skills while providing pro bono counsel to artists, musicians and small businesses. In this past academic year, Professor Gerhardt coached Carolina's trademark moot court team to a regional victory and a top 10 finish nationally.
Deborah R. Gerhardt is an Associate Professor at the UNC School of Law. She specializes in the intersection of law …
Mr. Gibson focuses his practice in the areas of intellectual property and representation of business clients with respect to contracts, entity formation and commercial litigation.
With respect to intellectual property, Mr. Gibson has counseled clients with respect to thousands of trademarks and service marks, has prosecuted hundreds of trademarks to registration and has engaged in numerous trademark litigation cases. Mr. Gibson also drafted hundreds of contracts involving intellectual property assets, protecting the full range of such assets, such as patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and other intangible assets. Mr. Gibson has also been, and continues to be, the primary attorney in a range of cases involving disputes regarding patent infringement, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, trade secret infringement and the misappropriation of other intangible assets.
Mr. Gibson graduated cum laude from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, cum laude (with special honors) from the University of Louisville where he was on the national debate team winning many national honors, studied in Osaka, Japan for one year at Kansai Gaidai University of Foreign Studies focusing on Japanese language, economics and management and speaks conversational Japanese.
Mr. Gibson focuses his practice in the areas of intellectual property and representation of business clients with respect to contracts, …
Vernon Nelson developed a full-service practice from his experience in casino regulatory compliance and gaming, licensing and other matters in domestic and international jurisdictions. In the gaming space, he has defended clients and obtained approvals for marketing programs and gaming equipment. He also has experience in the areas of internet, social and mobile gaming. He has overseen compliance with a multitude of unique state and federal laws, and consumer fraud and protection statutes and regulations.
Vernon Nelson developed a full-service practice from his experience in casino regulatory compliance and gaming, licensing and other matters in …
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About Gibson Lowry LLP
Gibson Lowry LLP (the “Firm”) has amongst its partners some of the most experienced attorneys in the areas of business transactions, intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, patent infringement and confidential information) and technology transactions. Steve Gibson in particular has over a quarter century of experience providing legal services in the areas of intellectual property and the business strategies associated with same as well as a wide-array of business transactions.
The Firm’s approach to all practice areas is to strive for a balance of providing legal services with excellence, but keeping in mind the practical needs of the Firm’s clients. Whether in litigation or transactions, we will attempt to assess all options, weigh them and come up with a legal strategy that views all angles known to us. Much of our work is occupied with collaborative thinking amongst attorneys in the Firm and with our clients.
About Wilson Elser
Nearly 800 attorneys strong, Wilson Elser serves clients of all sizes, across multiple industries and around the world. The firm has 30 offices in the United States and another in London. This depth and scale has made it one of the nation’s most influential law firms, ranked in the Am Law 200 and in the top 50 of the National Law Journal 350.