A CHANGING MARKET
The legal atmosphere for video game law has changed drastically over the past decade—but then again, so has the market itself. More and more clients find themselves expanding into new territory. Mobile gaming, for example, has now eclipsed both the PC and console markets, and with that comes access to global consumers in a way that has never been possible before.
At the same time, regulation is beginning to catch up to these advancements, placing developers and players alike in a difficult position. Microtransactions, for example, can be lucrative, but risk running afoul of Europe’s laws on lootboxes. Esports teams, who have often treated their players as independent contractors, now find themselves in jurisdictions that classify those same players as employees—exposing teams to liability for violations of employment law. Streamers find themselves banned from posting content, but may have recourse against the platform for failing to use good faith efforts in investigating whether they violated the platform’s terms of service.
Our team consists of attorneys from a variety of practice areas, so we can identify and flag potential changes in the law that might affect you before you find yourself or your company embroiled in a legal battle. Below are just a few examples of the ways our attorneys are able to help our video game clients.
Intellectual property attorneys protect your rights.
No matter what your connection to the video game industry, you’ve worked hard to create your brand—in an industry that is especially susceptible to knock-offs, turnover, and piracy. At the same time, the intellectual property protections in the gaming space are weaker than normal, since developers and content creators can’t rely on patents (or, in some cases, copyrights) to defend their intellectual property rights.
Defamation attorneys protect your reputation.
Published comments about your game or your content, including on popular consumer websites like YouTube, can increase your popularity. Unfortunately, when they contain false or misleading statements, they can destroy your brand. And statements by disgruntled employees, former friends, and rivals can result in irreparable damage to your reputation in the gaming community.
We can help. Our attorneys are experienced in utilizing a variety of federal and state laws to vindicate the rights of commercial clients who are the victims of online defamation. Whether the perpetrator is a rogue or former employee, a disgruntled customer, or a rival player, we act quickly and aggressively to root them out and to put an end to their defamatory practices.
We understand that especially in this business, quick response times are essential, but responding too harshly can also damage your reputation in the gaming community. Typically, our primary objective is getting the offending material removed from websites on which it appears and from search engine caches. Where appropriate, however, Kronenberger Rosenfeld also takes legal action, including through civil litigation geared toward recovering damages and other fees.
Top FTC defense attorneys protect you from regulatory suits.
A lawsuit by a government regulator, such as the FTC or a state Attorney General, can be devastating to a business. The explosion of mobile games and dubious advertising practices, combined with a growing swell of consumer complaints, make the industry a likely future target for such suits.
Many of the FTC’s enforcement actions relate to “unfair” or “deceptive” advertising, and to the violation of privacy rights, which are areas where we can help build an FTC-compliant marketing program, eliminating problems before they even arise. While our team also includes experienced litigators, we prefer to help our clients avoid these costly lawsuits altogether. Our experience in the industry means that we understand you often work with third-party advertising affiliates, social media advertising, cross-game advertising, and email campaign managers. We can work with you to help you bring these campaigns into compliance without sacrificing your competitive edge.
User agreement attorneys protect you from class actions and frivolous lawsuits.
Terms of service are contracts between website, app, and software creators and their users. Whether you own a website or mobile app or sell gaming software, one of the easiest ways you can reduce the risk of legal disputes with your users is to have ironclad terms and conditions and a binding consent mechanism. We use our years of litigation experience to craft terms and conditions that dramatically reduce litigation risks, including the risk of class action lawsuits.
We welcome you to submit the details of your advertising law matter using our online case submission form or by calling us at 415-955-1155, ext. 120.