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Copyright Enforcement Through the U. S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act [2016]

3 Mar 2016

Each year the IGDA Business and Legal Special Interest Group (IGDA B&L SIG) meets at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to discuss current topics affecting the business of games. This year one of the main topics of discussion centered about finding ways to inform developers about ways to protect their game from being flat out copied or having their games IP stolen. This can come in many forms. Anything from having assets for an in game editor being sold on the Unity store or in Second Life, to have someone copying your game, including the name and even the exact same tile and selling it in competition with your original title on Googleplay or the Apple App Store. Even though the vast majority of revenue on these platforms is derived from game sales, when a developer notifies them that a third party is infringing their game, if the infringer denies any wrong doing, the responses vary. Often the wronged party may not get the desired result of having the infringing game taken down.

The main legal vehicle for challenging infringing content is through the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or a claim of Trademark Infringement. This White Paper prepared by the members of the IGDA B&L SIG delves into the background and details of the DMCA to see how it might impact this situation. It will also provide insight into the underlying laws and procedures developers can use, of have used by a professional on their behalf, to protect their games from infringement and theft. We hope this White Paper informs and educates game developers on what the DMCA and related laws are, and are not, and when they can be used to protect their games.

Throughout this White Paper the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code §512) is referred to as the DMCA, the World Intellectual Property Organization as WIPO (www.wipo.int) and the U.S Copyright Act (Section 17 U.S. Code) is referred to as the Copyright Act. This White Paper focuses on U.S. law. Applicable laws in jurisdictions outside of the U.S may differ significantly. However, developers from outside of the US may still avail themselves of U.S. law when dealing with U.S. sites and distribution platforms.

Special thanks goes out to each of the authors and editors that helped put this White Paper together. The author(s) is set out at the beginning of each section and bios of the contributors is included at the end of the White Paper.

Read/Download Whitepaper: Copyright Enforcement Through the U. S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act [2016] (PDF)

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