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    SocialGamesLaw Blog
    Related Practices / Industries

    Virtual Worlds & Video Games

    Along with the explosive growth of online games, virtual worlds, and virtual goods and currency models, companies are seeing a commensurate increase in legal issues, many of them novel. Pillsbury has assembled a legal team of internationally recognized lawyers who are at the forefront of these emerging issues.

    Our Team
    We have a multidisciplinary team of more than 30 attorneys, across our many offices, to address the myriad legal issues relating to virtual worlds and games.

    We have represented some of the largest players in the industry, such as Activision Blizzard, Disney, Playdom, A&E and Playfish, and some of the most promising emerging companies such as nTeams (specializing in 3D avatar team-building and collaboration tools), re:Make (producing virtual gifting applications), Wowzers (a virtual world for learning-challenged children), ThreeWire (an award-winning developer of virtual counseling for veterans) and Rocket21 (a customizable youth site and social network).

    What We Do
    Our Virtual Worlds and Video Games team offers comprehensive services, including:

    Intellectual Property

    • Developing and implementing strategies for protecting patentable technology and business methods
    • Avoiding infringement of third party patents
    • Understanding implications of patent provisions in Terms of Use (TOS) and End User License Agreements (EULA)
    • Patent licensing and litigation

    • Protecting and enforcing trademarks for the names of virtual worlds and games
    • Advising on issues relating to the use of trademarks/product placement within virtual worlds and games
    • Licensing issues with in-game characters

    • Developing and implementing strategies for protecting copyrightable content
    • Licensing issues for use of music and other content in virtual worlds and video games
    • Digital Millenium Copyright Act compliance advice
    • Advice regarding terms of the copyright license granted to users in the TOS and/or EULA.

    Open Source
    • Advising on all aspects of use of open source software in virtual worlds and video games
    • Conducting open source audits of source code used in/with virtual worlds and games
    • Open source compliance and due diligence issues
    • Strategies for providing open source tools to use with proprietary virtual worlds software

    Agreements and Licensing
    • Drafting and advising on the implications of TOS and/or EULA.
    • Advising on unauthorized use of applications that work with virtual worlds and video games
    • All aspects of licensing involving virtual worlds and video games
    • Software development and hosting agreements

    • Incorporation and funding of start-up companies
    • Development of corporate policies and procedures regarding the use of virtual worlds (employees use of and participation in virtual worlds, avatar guidelines)
    • Development and implementation of corporate risk management procedures
    • Management and employee seminars on open source issues

    Privacy & Data Protection
    • Advise companies on data protection and privacy for Internet, e-commerce and online gaming in the entertainment and media sectors
      • E-business audits, Website set up and data protection
      • Protection of customer and employee data
      • Assist media companies in implementing and complying with appropriate privacy laws regarding minors' use of online games

    Property Rights
    • Advice regarding ownership vs. licensing of virtual currency, land and other assets
    • Property rights upon termination of TOS and/or EULA

    Litigation and Dispute Resolution Issues
    • Advice regarding TOS and EULA disputes
    • Patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation
    • Right of publicity litigation
    • Right of privacy
    • Use/collection of evidence for litigation based on user activity, chat logs and other in-world events
    • Applicability of real world law to virtual world disputes
    • Advice regarding contracts/disputes between end users of virtual worlds
    • Advice regarding cyber stalking, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other in-world torts

    Financial Services
    • Advice regarding virtual currency and exchange issues
    • Advice regarding financial fraud in virtual worlds
    • Advice regarding in-world gambling and sweepstakes
    • Advice regarding in-world payment methods and technologies and commerce

    • Tax issues with virtual worlds and transactions

    • VOIP regulation of online games
    • Law enforcement surveillance issues
    • Broadband access, technologies and services
    • FCC regulatory requirements of online and Internet gaming
    • Assist companies targeted by the DOJ in connection with processing transactions

    Our Clients
    Our Virtual Worlds and Video Games Team offers service to clients of all types from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, in the U.S. and abroad, including
    • Video game developers and publishers
    • Video game technology providers
    • Corporations involved with in-game content issues
    • Content providers
    • Virtual world operators
    • Virtual world technology providers
    • Corporations participating in virtual worlds
    • End users

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