Week 8 — Intellectual property

2021-07-19

Week 8 introduces us to intellectual property (something we’ll be creating a lot of in our adventures), and the law.

Examples of the law in our practice

In the spark forum, we’re asked to research contemporary case studies directly related to our own practice, and cite an example (bonus points for weird and surreal).

As part of the annual video game conference BlizzCon, Metallica were tapped for a livestream performance at the event. It was the first time the band had played the conference since 2014 and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. A few seconds into the Twitch stream of the event, the metal faded out and was replaced by computerized folk music instead, to the ire of viewers.

(DiVita n.d.)

This is a funny story, because if you remember Metallica VS Napster (Staff n.d.), they’re getting exactly what they asked for. Sweet irony.

How does it apply to my practice? Games nowadays have a setting that lets you exclude all copyrighted music from the game playlist, so if you’re a Twitch/Youtube streamer, your content has less chance of getting taken down, for example:

The Law

We’re asked to define The Law before we’re given a definition, so we can reflect on the difference. So, using only my experience and current understanding of the world: the law is a set of rules and regulations that a society agrees on and that governs how that society operates, and if said individual contravenes said rules and regulations, the society can judge the individual (jury of peers, and an appointed judge) and determine punishment for the breach via the legal system (a fine, jail, or in some societies: a death sentence, or having your hands chopped off).

(UPDATE funny story - I just got a jury summons!)

We’re then given a definition of social contract:

Social contract: individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.

But it gets fuzzier than that, and at this point my eyes glaze over, and I remember why I’d much rather involve a solicitor than trying to make sense of any legalese. Play to your strengths, and all that.

However, let’s briefly discern between criminal law and civil law:

Criminal law

  • deals with crimes and punishments
  • law sets out things which are considered unacceptable
  • brought about by the state itself e.g. the police (via the Crown Prosecution Service)

Civil law

  • deals with disputes between individuals, organisations, and other bodies
  • law sets out principles to help judge a breadth of situations that may arise
  • brought out between individuals

Law w.r.t the games industry

In the games industry, you’d typically breach civil law, e.g. breach of contract, copyright infringement, misuse of IP, negligence, malpractice, misrepresentation, libel, failure to protect personal data, breaches of privacy, etc.

Specific areas of law I’m to be mindful of: copyright, trademark, patent, and design right.

Final thoughts

Here is Lady Justice, holding the scales with which she measures the strengths of a case’s support and opposition. The blindfold represents impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or other status. (I originally thought that the blindfold meant that the judge and jury can’t have all the facts, and goes by evidence and the accounts of witnesses, unless - of course - they have proof.)

Lady Justice, at the top of the Old Bailey

As a final thought on The Law, this quote really drives home my impression of Lady Justice’s blindfold:

In our legal system, if a judge finds it more likely than not that something did take place, then it is treated as having taken place...

(“Proof on the Balance of Probabilities: What This Means in Practice” n.d.)

And vice versa.

Week development log

2021-07-19 Monday

I caught up on Friday’s new content on Intellectual Property.

I also did some work on the product. I added some tasks in Pivotal tracker to record the next set of voice narration.

Supervisor catch-up in the evening, after which I recorded some more ambient sounds for our game, and started working on the plan for our assignment’s 3-minute demo video.

2021-07-20 Tuesday

Migrated all our documents to Google Docs, and Microsoft Teams’ Files section seem to fill up with random crap, which makes it difficult to find the documents we created on purpose. (MS Teams seems to plonk everything in there - screenshots, attachments, etc.)

I created a few more tasks as blockers for the demo video task.

I did a bit of my own research around “visual novel” and “interactive fiction”, and shared it with the team.

The rest of the week

The rest of the week was a bit slow, as I’m mostly waiting on other assets to be ready before I can do my bit. Meanwhile, I’m doing a lot of personal research into something really exciting (related to the course), which I don’t yet want to share.

Bibliography

  1. “Proof on the Balance of Probabilities: What This Means in Practice.” n.d. Practical Law. Available at: http://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/2-500-6576?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true [accessed 19 Jul 2021].
  2. DIVITA, Joe. n.d. “Twitch Mute Metallica’s Livestream Performance at BlizzCon Video Game Conference.” Loudwire. Available at: https://loudwire.com/twitch-mute-metallica-blizzcon-2021/ [accessed 19 Jul 2021].
  3. STAFF, WIRED. n.d. “Metallica Rips Napster.” Wired. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2000/04/metallica-rips-napster/ [accessed 19 Jul 2021].

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 8 of the module co-creative development.

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