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This article examines and critiques the American copyright regime's increasingly protective approach to video games and their subject matter. Over the past decade, a trio of district court decisions have bolstered protection for video games by relaxing standards for protectability and substantial similarity. Subsequent rulings, concerning both games and other forms of intellectual property, suggest this protective streak will continue. While heightened protection might provide a necessary deterrent to ‘cloning’ and other kinds of impermissible copying, it will also endanger valuable forms of appropriation. After decades of limited copyright involvement, mimesis has become an important element of game creation – widely tolerated by the gaming community as a source of inspiration, interoperability, and cultural conversation. A more expansive view of protectability may inhibit imitative behavior that has, in the past, benefited new creators and fans without harming the economic expectations of prior authors. Moreover, that new approach, which relies heavily on juries for unpredictable, case-by-case determinations, may restrict the financial and creative outlook of the video game industry at large.
In its first section, this article identifies the elements of video games that have been deemed protectable under copyright law. The second section summarizes foundational video game case law, in which courts established restrictive standards for protectability and substantial similarity. The third then discusses the paradigm shift towards more expansive protectability, recounting cases where courts found games worthy of heightened protection. In its fourth section, this article argues that the protective trend has yet to peak, looking to evidence gleaned from recent copyright suits. A concluding section outlines the risks of overprotection, cautioning against a potentially unreasoned and impractical copyright standard.
Ming Chen and Xiaohai Liu
Bad faith trademark filings are a serious problem in China. During the fourth revision of the Chinese Trademark Law in 2019, bad faith filings without the intention to use the trademark was added as an absolute ground, with the aim that the Chinese Trademark Law can cope with the bad faith filings problem more effectively. Nevertheless, compared with the EU trademark system, the bad faith filing in the Chinese Trademark Law is not an absolute autonomous ground. Different kinds of bad faith filings are regulated by different clauses respectively. Some trademarks filed in bad faith can only be dealt with by relative grounds and cannot be invalidated after five years of their registrations. In order to deter malicious registration, bad faith filings per se should be introduced into the Chinese Trademark Law as an autonomous absolute ground. Trademarks filed in bad faith should be invalidated at any time.
Advertising on the Internet showed fascinating results in Russia in 2019 – according to the statistics of the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (ACAR), the Internet was the only growing platform of advertising distribution, while such channels as TV, radio and printed media shortened their advertising profits. Along with growth of the online advertising market the interest and attention to legal aspects of digital advertising is increasing. Cases on digital advertising are always creative just like advertising itself is. The main challenges relate to the application of regular requirements of the advertising law, which are already well understood in the TV or radio business, to the Internet. While doing this, we in Russia also take into account international experience and trends in the field of digital advertising and try to predict further development of legal landscape and practice.