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Paula Westenberger

This case comment analyses a decision by the São Paulo Court of Appeal in a case concerning whether the use of the image of a football player in a videogame, without the athlete's permission, constituted a violation of his image rights. The Court of Appeal found that the use of the image of a public person, without their consent, in a commercial activity with no relevant public interest to be protected, harms a fundamental personality right and generates the right to compensate for damages.

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Johanna González-Zúñiga

The constant re-shaping of the interactive entertainment industry, along with the uprising of technology such as virtual reality, has been challenging the type of assets that can be protected through intellectual property. This paper addresses the issue of whether or not it is possible to protect a simple gesture, designed to transfer a user into a trusted environment, within a virtual reality platform. It is argued that our hypothetical gesture could potentially be protected through copyright, if social structures were to determine it as artistic, as a non-traditional trademark, which have been gaining popularity, or as a patent. As will be reviewed, even though a gesture does not pose a technical solution that would qualify it as patentable material, it is claimed that the drafting of patent applications that involve recognition of movements are describing gestures, which ultimately are granted protection.

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Edited by Gaetano Dimita, Jon Festinger and Marc Mimler

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Yin Harn Lee

The continued accessibility of older videogames is threatened by the obsolescence of the hardware and software platforms on which they operate and the degradation of the physical media on which they are stored. This has made videogame preservation a topic of increasing concern to cultural heritage institutions. However, established preservation techniques, such as migration and emulation, raise numerous issues under copyright law, as they implicate rightholders' exclusive rights as well as protections against the circumvention of TPMs. This is exacerbated by the difficulty of locating the rightholders for a given videogame. Notwithstanding this, cultural heritage institutions may still take advantage of some flexibilities within the current copyright framework, in particular the exceptions relating to reverse engineering, decompilation, cultural preservation and orphan works, in order to begin the work of videogame preservation. In the longer term, it may be necessary for the sector to collaborate more closely with the videogame industry and to lobby for legislative reform.

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Michael D. Dunford

The copyright status of the fictional universes that form the foundation of many interactive and conventional entertainment franchises is unclear, making it difficult to determine how to assess copyright infringement claims when the universe is appropriated for use by an unauthorized work. A recent American case, Paramount Pictures v. Axanar Productions, represents one of the only known examples of such a case that does not involve the corresponding use of major plot elements or characters from within the main franchise works.

This paper uses the Paramount Pictures v. Axanar Productions case as an example of the effect that decisions about how to identify the infringed work have on both the substantial similarity and fair use inquiries. The aggregation approach adopted by the court is critiqued, and an alternative approach – treating the fictional universe itself as a copyright protected work – is suggested as an alternative consistent with existing law. However, even that approach is likely to have potential pitfalls. Ultimately, those interested in copyright as applied to multi-work franchises should be aware that this is an area of lingering uncertainty, with both the nature and the extent of the copyright protection afforded to fictional universes undefined at the current time.

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Ross Dannenberg and Josh Davenport

Video game litigation in the United States is neither new nor infrequent, and video game developers can learn valuable lessons from cases won, and lost, by others before them. This article examines the evolution of United States intellectual property law from historically narrow roots to classifying video games as an art form deserving broad free speech protection. This article examines seminal cases in a variety of IP areas, including not only copyrights, but also reverse engineering, derivative works, patents, trademarks, rights of publicity, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, contracts, and freedom of speech. These cases explore the factual and legal limits of American jurisprudence in video game law, including how one's own expression can be limited by the rights of others, permissible and fair use and of others' IP, and the impact these cases have had in the industry. As video games have leveled up into a multi-billion dollar industry, the law has leveled up, too, and this article is the primer you need to level up with it.

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Kostyantyn Lobov

As virtual reality (VR) products increase in popularity, stakeholders in the games industry wanting to promote their VR products, or to leverage VR technology for advertising more generally, need to be aware of the most common legal and regulatory pitfalls, particularly as this is an area in which advertising and consumer protection regulators are likely to take a keen interest. Meanwhile, the regulators themselves will also have to be agile. They face the challenge of having to apply laws and self-regulatory codes which were not drafted with VR technology in mind to new situations, in a fair and rational manner which does not expose them to the risk of judicial review.

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Emil Albihn Henriksson

Virtual reality technologies necessitate the collection and processing of more – and more intimate – personal data than other media. This gives rise to some particular considerations under data protection regulations and not least the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The aim of this article is to explore these characteristics particular to VR and to identify some of the issues that these might give rise to under the GDPR.

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Edited by Gaetano Dimita, Jon Festinger and Marc Mimler