Andrew Greenberg, president of Georgia Game Developers Association (http://www.ggda.org/) welcomed thousands of participants to the “fastest-growing, coolest tradeshow for the video and digital game industries” this past weekend, October 5- 7, 2012 at the Northeast Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia: SIEGE CON 2012, Southern Interactive Entertainment & Game Expo (http://www.siegecon.net/SIEGE2012/) This year the main conference also included a SEIGE Hackathon, College Fair, SEIGE Investment Conference, and the Games for Health Conference. Truly a full slate.
IP attorney Deborah Gonzalez attended and participated during the conference. Three of the over 40 sessions are highlighted below.
The Legal Landscape: An Executive Briefing on Current Issues
Attorneys Rob Hassett (http://www.internetlegal.com/) and TJ Mihill (http://www.atlbusinesslawyers.com/atlanta-attorneys/thomas-j-mihill/) presented an excellent inaugural session of an “annual review and update of changes in legislation, rules, law suits, and torts that have occurred or have been introduced since last year’s SEIGE conference.” (Excerpt from SEIGE 2012 Program). Some key points:
- Supreme Court decision = video games have first amendment protection 2011
- No doubt v Activision case 2009. Settled, misappropriation of license of use of likeness, beyond breach of contract, publicity
- EA v Bell helicopter company = EA wanted a declaratory judgment to beagle to use the helicopter designer, trademark infringement on the helicopters, Jan 2012, how much of the part if the game is the helicopter? Nominative use for fair use not accepted, helicopter names and designs, not a first amendment case, you need a license to use any of these elements, the art is so sophisticated now, very realistic, more complicated and online multiplayer play that allows you to customize your game play so you may have one player who only flies the helicopter for 4 hours; commentary vs. integration, statement of endorsement, need specific weapons and equipment when depicting a real battle so fair use?
- Apple v Samsung, patent suit, $1 billion, result of an army of over 100 attorneys, infringement v invalidity of patent, damages lost profits or reasonable royalties, utility patent v design patent, design patent damages profits defendant made plus royalty, trade dress looking at non functional aspects, dilution = actual damages, profits; tap to zoom patent, Samsung emails stating they were going to the Apple store to look at their products to emulate; juries get trade dress; trade dress is established over time and multiple uses;
- Crowd funding, illegal to raise investment money through crowd funding bc it violates federal and state security laws, SEC, private offering = no general solicitation or advertising allowed; but you can go to people you know, be careful u cant take a fee bc you are not a broker, but they can hire you and give you a salary, go w rule 506; for accredited investors; gobignetwork.com, fundable.com, they have passwords, do not take commission just monthly flat fee; JOBS ACT April 2012, title ii and iii; still waiting for SEC final rules; title iii called crowd fund act, $1m cap, net worth less than $100,000,
For a copy of Rob Hassett’s PowerPoint slide deck please see: http://www.tellmesomethingidontalreadyknow.com/2012/10/08/2012-review-of-law-relating-to-video-games/
Gamification: Secret Sauce or Pure Pudding?
Moderated by Jesse Lindsey of Thrust Interactive (http://www.thrustinteractive.com/), panelists included Dov Jacobson of Games that Work (http://gamesthatwork.com), Gordon Rogers, President of Atlanta Technology Angels (http://angelatlanta.com/), Ben Sawyer of Digitalmill (http://www.dmill.com/team.php), and Deborah Thomas of Silly Monkey (http://www.sillymonkeyinternational.com/). The panel discussed “gamification trends in business, real-world tips and practices for applying and avoiding gamification principals and paradigms” (excerpt from SEIGE 2012 program). Some key points:
- Gamify something, gaming the experience (interactive) v the full game development
- Games v gamification
- Serious game space
- Points and badges are wearing thin
- Gamification came from: Virtual worlds could not monetize and wanted to repurpose the content
- Instead of gasification, use level up, people always want to improve
- What we call it is important. The experts don’t like the term gamification.
- But the term has helped bridge the gap w corp types for their training
- Tie the game mechanic to the learning objective. Companies need this, a way to do effective training
- Gamification has a lot if science behind it (including industrial psych)
- User interaction design
- True gamification = using the game perspective and skills to build solutions to issues
- Social Games “force people to spend money?” Ex computerized slot machines
- What about making your games more social?
- What makes people go back to it five minutes at a time?
- Developing games people will play on their break or at home after work. Is this a violation of labor laws?
- Social games have brought in new audiences and have expanded the market
- Is gamification the new norm for education?
- Ex. The company Scavenger
- More like a process of play vs. process of points
- Game based informational technology stack/platform
- Games can become productive environments, not just a learning environment
- Real playful interface
- Everything’s a game
- Intrinsic rewards. Like a job offer
- Tradewise: gamification surveys for market research
- In game benefits
- The problem is the dumbing down of game skill bc of the term gamification
- Dragon box (math game) has overtaken Angry Birds (practice effects)
The Negotiation Game
Attorneys Tom Busgaglia, the Game Attorney (http://www.gameattorney.com/), Cliff Lovette (http://www.linkedin.com/in/clifflovette), and Deborah Gonzalez (http://www.dgonzalezesq.com/), gave a down-to-earth reality check on the promises and pitfalls of negotiating for game developers. Key points made:
- The importance of presence before, during and after the negotiation
- The importance of knowing who the other party is you are negotiating with and what their authority level is
- To not let the other party junior you
- When should you engage an attorney
- Ask or you will never get
- Make sure that the contract you are finally sent is the correct one with all the items you negotiated
- Nothing is a “standard deal” everything can be negotiated
- So much depends on what leverage you have going into the negotiation; relative bargaining power
- Is signing the contract the end or the beginning of the relationship?
- Every negotiator has a style – what’s yours? What’s theirs?
- The client has to understand negotiation is a process, you need patience but it is important to go through it
Did you attend this year’s SEIGE? What sessions did you go to and what did you learn?