Happy Tax Day

April 15th, 2014

Wow, 2014 is flying by so far. Can’t believe it’s already tax day. It’s been a busy spring for me so far, this month has taken me to Arlington, Virginia for the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Annual Meeting, as well as to Fort Lauderdale for the Nova Southeastern Law Sports and Entertainment Law Society Annual Symposium.  Both events included interesting content on current issues in intellectual property, entertainment and sports law.  I particularly enjoyed taking part in the panel at the Symposium on IP and right of publicity issues in video games, and the impact of the recent decisions in the O’Bannon, Keller and Hart cases on the NCAA and its players. 

 In addition to it being the time of year to get your taxes in if you haven’t already, it’s also an important time of year in most states for corporations.  As you may know, one of the major benefits of incorporating your business as a corporation or similar business entity is that it provides a means of protection for the company’s owners from potential personal liability for the actions of the corporation.  Part of keeping this protection involves not only registering with the state, but also maintaining it by filing the company’s annual report with the Secretary of State for that particular state.  The annual report is important because if it is not filed in a timely fashion, the company will be what is called administratively dissolved.  This means that if you don’t file the annual report, you could lose the protection from personal liability from corporation actions during the time the company is out of compliance.  Here in Florida, the deadline is May 1st to file an annual report with the Department of State.  I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the deadline in your state if you have a business, and make sure that your paperwork is filed by the respective deadline for that state, or consult with an attorney in your area to help you do so.  

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When Should I Consider Trademarks?

March 11th, 2014

I spoke this past weekend at Florida DrupalCamp on intellectual property law and compliance issues for web developers. It was a great session, with lots of interesting questions from those in attendance, and I hope to incorporate many of them into future posts. I think a good place to start is a question that I am asked a lot by aspiring entrepreneurs, which is “when should I consider registering for a trademark in the startup process?” My answer to this is that it should be considered as early on in the process as possible. Of the many steps that it can take to start and grow a business, sometimes the process of considering whether a company or product name is capable of being registered for a trademark, as well as registering such a name, can tend to end up on the back burner. This can be a costly tactical error for a small business, as proceeding without the use of a company or product name without an idea of whether it could potentially generate a trademark infringement claim can not only result in litigation from another trademark owner, but also mean that the company or product may have to change its name and lose any accumulated recognition in the minds of consumers.

While of course I always advise that entrepreneurs consult with an attorney to help them navigate the trademark search and registration process, there are also simple steps that people can take to get an idea of whether a name is available for use for a company or product. One way is to perform an internet search for that name and the related industry in which it would be used to see if there are any results that could potentially overlap with what you have in mind. The related industry is important, as trademark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are issued by the class of goods or services for which the mark will be used. This is why you will see in some instances the same name being used for different classes of goods or services, such as Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets. Now an internet search may not give you all the information you would need about whether a name is available for use, or is already registered as a trademark. This is why it is also a good idea to run a search of the trademark registrations with the USPTO on its website to see if there are any names or logos that could conflict with the name you are looking to use in the search results. Of course, the next logical question that may come to mind is if I can do these searches myself, why would I need to hire an attorney? It’s a good question, and the answer is that an attorney with knowledge of trademark law can assist you in performing a fuller search of whether a name or logo is capable of being registered with the USPTO. Why does this matter? As trademarks are not only a matter of federal law, but also state law, there can be registrations or uses of the name in question that may not show up in an internet search or search of the federal database that may show up in a fuller knock out search. Such a search would also include domain name registrations, and if you have ever wondered why some tech companies have such strange names, it is often a result of trying to find an available domain name. Further, an attorney can advise you as to the potential risk that similar or matching results may present, and help a company choose another name if the risk is too great.

No matter which route you opt to take in terms of trying to determine if a name is available for use, and ultimately for registration as a trademark, the point is that these discussions need to take place early on in the startup process. Think about it- if you’re going to spend your time, energy, and money on developing a new product or company, don’t you want to do so wisely? Litigation is expensive and time consuming, so if doing some basic searches can help you head off potential problems, that is time (and money) well spent.

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Bloggers and Dinosaurs and Punk Rock, Oh My!

September 16th, 2012

I really enjoyed attending Central Florida BlogCon yesterday, big thanks to the planning team for all their hard work organizing and running the conference.  There was a lot of great learning and sharing going on during the sessions that addressed different topics related to blogging and social media.  The conference got off to quite a start with a flash mob, then a great keynote by Lou Mongello on how to quit your job and blog full time.  I think everyone got a kick out of seeing his slides projected on the huge Cinedome screen. 

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After the keynote, I checked out a session on monetizing your blog through online advertising, which provided a thorough explanation of the different options for online advertising on your blog and guidance as to typical rates that advertising networks may offer.  I then took some time to prepare for my talk and relax in the Ford recharge lounge, which featured strawberry cookies from Parkesdale Market, Nawgan energy drinks, and free massages from Motherlove Massages.  My talk on IP issues that bloggers need to be aware of went well, there were lots of great questions from the audience.  Then it was time for lunch courtesy of Bahama Breeze, who not only provided quite a lunch spread, but also a steel drum band to entertain attendees during lunch.  The afternoon kicked off with a yoga session before the slate of afternoon sessions.  I checked out Mark Krupinski’s talk on how to best monitor and use social media analytics, which was full of good tips, then Joshua Johnson’s session on blogging for business.  He stressed the importance of using an editorial calendar to help keep you plan posts and stay on track with your blog.  Then it was time for Mark Baratelli of the Daily City’s hilarious talk about how to find and share content to build a passionate following.  He pulled no punches as he shared his experiences in building the following for his blog, and his thoughts about topics like niche blogs.  He’s clearly not a fan, as he said that he doesn’t think you should focus on a niche, and that “niche= no no, then you’re stuck with a scarf blog and what happens if you tire of scarves, moron.”  It was definitely some good food for thought on how to approach building your following and the different paths that bloggers can take.  Then it was time for the session on storytelling and creating infectious blog posts presented by Justice Mitchell, which was really interesting.   Then it was time for the breakout sessions where bloggers met with other bloggers with a similar focus to discuss their experiences and challenges blogging in that area.  I met with the business blogging group, and we had an interesting discussion to end the day. 

After a long day of sharing and learning, everyone was glad to check out the Yelp after party, which was held in the dinosaur area of the Science Center.  It was cool to mingle with the other attendees among the dinos, and enjoy the drinks and great food, like the vegetarian gumbo provided by Qdoba, pitas and hummus from Crave, and sushi.   Big thanks to the planning team, can’t wait to see what they come up with for BlogCon next year.

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As if it hadn’t been a busy enough day, Strung Out was also playing over at the Social.  I headed over there in time to catch the Swellers’ set, which was energetic and melodic.  Energetic was an understatement for Strung Out, who are probably the only band who could play 2 sets and an encore in under 2 hours.  They stormed through their albums Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues, and Twisted by Design, to the delight of the crowd.  The Swellers joined Strung Out on stage to play “Justified Black Eye” as a tribute to the late Tony Sly.  It was a great end to a long but fun day.  I highly recommend checking out the conference and the bands if you get a chance.

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Central Florida BlogCon & Social Media Law

August 26th, 2012

As anticipated, 2012 is continuing to be an active and interesting year in entertainment and intellectual property law.  The big news this week has been the verdict in the patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over the alleged infringement of mobile phone patents, which awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages.   As these companies also have a number of lawsuits pending in other countries, this will likely hardly be the end of this patent battle. 

 

There was also news this week on the social media front, as a Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcolm Harris filed a motion challenging the judge’s previous ruling allowing prosecutors to subpoena his tweets.  Harris was arrested in October, and his case is among several similar cases for which prosecutors are seeking social media posts as part of prosecuting the case.  This case has brought some interesting issues to light, such as the question of who owns a user’s tweets, as well as the issue of whether one has any expectation of privacy in regard to his or her social media posts.  The judge has previously ruled on attempts to quash the subpoena by both Harris and Twitter.  In the case of Twitter, the company’s attorneys had argued that the subpoena violated Harris’ freedom of speech and right to privacy.   The judge rejected this argument, ruling that the posts were made publicly, and with no expectation of privacy.  Twitter is appealing this ruling, so it will be interesting to see how that action turns out.  Harris’ filing also asks that the judge recognize his standing to challenge the subpoena on first amendment grounds, as well as on the ground that it violates fourth amendment protections against warrantless searches.  This is definitely a social media case to keep an eye on, as the interplay between social media and the law will likely produce some interesting legal rulings.

 

Speaking of social media, I also wanted to mention an upcoming event at which I will be speaking, the Central Florida Bloggers’ Conference.  CFL BlogCon is being held Saturday, September 15th at the Orlando Science Center.  My presentation is titled “Copyrights, Trademarks and Social Media, Oh My!,”  and will explore the legal issues that bloggers may run into, and how to avoid legal problems when blogging and using social media.  It’s coming up soon, and seats are filling up quickly, so if you’re interested in attending, register and start planning your schedule over at the Central Florida BlogCon website

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Hot Topics in Entertainment Law for 2012- Part I

May 25th, 2012

So 2012 seems like it will be another interesting year in entertainment and intellectual property law.   I discussed my predictions for the year in terms of hot topics in social media and the law over at the Social Media Club Clubhouse, and will be posting a midyear update soon, so I thought I would discuss some hot topics I’ve noticed in entertainment law over here. 

A big topic to keep an eye on is termination of copyright grants.  You may have read about the recent court decision in favor of Village People singer Victor Willis allowing him to terminate his portion of the grant of copyright rights to Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, the companies who administer the music publishing for the group’s songs.  You will likely be seeing more litigation in this area, as 2013 will be the first year in which songwriters and recording artists who made grants of their copyrights to publishers or record labels can terminate those grants under the copyright law.  In 1978, an extension of the copyright act went into effect that granted artists the right to terminate their copyright grants 35 years after that grant under section 203.  There are some strict requirements to send a termination notice, and the notice must be sent not less than two years before the termination date, and not more than 10 years before that date.

Think of the artists who would have been making these copyright grants 35 years ago…some big names come to mind: the Eagles, Bob Dylan, the Village People, Tom Petty, the list goes on and on.  Losing the right to license these songs or recordings could be a big blow to a record label or music publisher, which is why you will likely see a lot of litigation next year trying to prevent these terminations from going through.  Another wrinkle that arises when you are talking about termination is whether sound recordings fall within the termination provisions of the copyright law.  This has its roots in the provisions in most record contracts that states that any recordings created during the term of that contract are works made for hire that would be owned by the record label, and the fact that sound recordings are not one of the categories of works that can be works made for hire.  If the recordings were found to be works made for hire, under the copyright law they would be seen as having been authored by the record company, and giving the termination right to the label rather than to the artist. 

I think that’s a good place to start, enjoy the food for thought.  Up next, I’ll discuss recent developments in right of publicity cases, especially in music video games.  

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New Books, Stage Collapses and Milestones, Oh My!

September 17th, 2011

Howdy folks, sorry to have fallen off the blogging wagon for a while there.  The last few months have been pretty hectic with a move to an in-house position with a technology company in Orlando and all the fun that comes with moving and getting settled.  But things are settling down, and I’m hoping to get back to posting on a more regular basis.

To start, I am proud to announce the publication of a book that I contributed a chapter to, The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Video Game Development.The American Bar Association's Legal Guide to Video Game Development

I contributed chapter 2, which is about business and finance issues to consider when starting a video game company.  I am really excited that it is out, and want to thank my colleague Ross Dannenberg, who edited the book, for the opportunity to take part in the project.  Ross also is one of the principal authors of the blog Patent Arcade, which covers video game IP law, I encourage you to check it out.

Also, in the midst of all that has been going on, I missed celebrating the two year birthaversary of my firm, can’t believe how fast the time has gone.  I’m looking forward to another year of working with creative and interesting clients.

Next, in light of all the scary stage collapse stories in the news in recent months, I wanted to take some time to talk about stage riders.  @catherinereach had inquired about them in response to a tweet I had posted about the unfortunate stage collapse and resulting deaths at the Pukkelpop festival earlier this month, and whether safety requirements are typically part of the contracts bands sign.  The answer is typically yes, though it depends on the level of festival or event involved, as well as the sophistication of the parties.  As you can see in Metallica’s rider for their 2004 tour, there is a provision on page 9 giving the band the right to cancel their performance in the event that they feel the band or fans would be subject to bodily injury.  It also calls for the party booking the band to provide general liability insurance, and abide by applicable health and safety regulations.   Now a bigger band like Metallica will have a crew traveling with them to handle matters like the rigging of lights and sound, which provides them with some means of protecting against disaster, but as Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman noted in a recent interview with Alternative Press, there is nothing you can do to completely safeguard a festival.  It’s an interesting read, as is this article published by The Hollywood Reporter on the recent festival disasters.  It provides an interesting perspective on the infamous Van Halen rider request that no brown M&Ms be placed in their dressing room.  This request was included, as many rider requests are, to ensure that the promoter had read the contract and complied with its requirements, including following the safety requirements for setting up the stage.  The best bet for a band is to ensure that stage safety requirements are set out in its rider, and that the contract calls for the promoter to have adequate insurance in the event of an accident.  But even with a contract in place, don’t forget to trust your instincts as well.  It has been reported that a last minute decision by Sugarland’s tour manager to keep the band from going on stage may have made the difference in preventing the band from being harmed in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.  So, to sum it up, get your requirements in writing and trust your instincts when it comes to stage safety.

And finally, speaking of festivals, do check out Fest 10 via the ad in the sidebar.  Looks like it will be another amazing 3 days of music invading Gainesville this year.  Check out the free comps and all the other Fest goodness over at their site.

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Whose Domain Is It Anyway?

January 27th, 2011

I posted a while back about the introduction of new generic top level domains (gTLDs) by ICANN, the organization charged with regulating domains and the like on the internet.  Trademark owners are keeping an eye on the proposed process for registering for these new domains, as well as how potential domain disputes will be handled.  The buzz has already started, as the introduction of the .jobs domain recently sent a shudder through the online classified advertising community, as some of these sites provide job listings for free as opposed to the sites where businesses would have to pay to post jobs.

Another interesting domain related dispute that is before ICANN is that over the .music TLD.  As was reported this week on Billboard.biz, some of the trade organizations representing record labels and songwriters, among others, have sent a letter objecting to the proposed means of registering domain names with the .music extension.  Citing concerns about piracy sites being able to register for .music domains, the trade organizations expressed a desire for the ‘music community’ to have control over the granting of .music domains.  This control would include not granting a .music domain to parties offering free unlicensed music on their sites, a determination that could be difficult to make given all of the new sites and technologies for sharing content.  It will be interesting to see how this debate pans out, particularly for artists as well as new music technology companies creating music apps and the like.  Control of domain names has been an area of contention for artists over the years, who have signed contracts only to find out later that the contract gave their record label ownership and control of the artist’s domain name.  The issue of where independent artists seeking to register a .music domain would fall if control was given to the requesting parties would be an interesting one as well, particularly given all of the artists using social media and other platforms to share their music.  Hopefully once ICANN releases its procedures for registering these new gTLDs it will provide some clarity to situations like this.  I’ll be keeping an eye on these domain issues, not only for the blog but also because I’m speaking on a panel about gTLDs for trademark owners at the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Annual Meeting in April.

As you are probably aware or have learned reading the posts here, there is quite a bit of activity going on at the intersection of new technologies, media, and the law.  I’m fascinated by this area and how the law develops in response to issues that might arise.  That’s why I’m really excited to have been invited to speak about legal issues in the use of social media at unGeeked Orlando March 3-5, 2011.  What is unGeeked?  It’s a 3 day social media, marketing and branding retreat designed to engage both the speakers and attendees.  It’s not your typical conference where a speaker will give a presentation with lots of slides and only a few minutes for questions.  At unGeeked you will get the chance to participate with the speakers, and build professional relationships while learning about how to leverage your brand.  For more information about the event, as well as the national and regional speakers, check out the website here.  If you’re interested, contact me for a 10% discount on registration.  I hope to see some of you there

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Band Operating Agreements

December 30th, 2010

So 2010 is quickly coming to a close, and I thought I would get one last post in to wrap up the year here at the PunkLawyer blog.  There has been quite a bit of hubbub online about the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro from the band Paramore, including dueling blog accounts of the circumstances surrounding said departure.  To read the posts and view the videos, check out the coverage over at Alternative Press.   While I’m not familiar with the actual operation within the band Paramore, I thought that this would be a good time to discuss band partnership or operating agreements.

More bands than you would think have operating agreements in place.  These agreements can vary somewhat according to the type of business entity such as a corporation or limited liability company that a band chooses.  The decision to create a business entity is important, and something I will cover in a future post.  Depending on the particular entity you choose, an operating agreement can be required.  This agreement will typically cover who is on the board of directors of the company, when, where and how often they will meet, how they can vote, and otherwise run the company.  For a band, such an agreement can also address what rights members have to make purchases beyond a certain dollar amount on behalf of the band, as well as to enter into contracts on its behalf.

A particular area of importance to address in a band partnership or operating agreement is what happens when a member leaves.  This is also an important issue for startup companies, where like a band a member can leave and potentially wreak havoc on the company if a procedure for the departure of that person is not in place.  Think of the bands you have seen that tour with only one or two of the original members but still use the same name.   While in some instances this may be done without the permission of the original members, in others it comes down to who owns the rights to the band name.  A famous example is Guns N’ Roses, who have continued to exist in various incarnations with Axl Rose as the only remaining original member.  The story goes that when the band was renegotiating its contract with Geffen Records, Axl had language added to the contract stating the he alone would own the name of the band.  Once the band members signed that contract, Axl had the legal right to use that name.  This would mean he can perform under that name with different members, license it for merchandise, you get the idea.

So how would you want to structure your band agreement to avoid later disputes as to the ownership of the band name, particularly after a band member leaves?  You would want to include language that states what a departing member would receive in terms of compensation, and that he or she leaves with no rights to the band name, image and the like.  Or your band may have a different view, but generally it is best to spell these type of issues out so that when you’re in the midst of the upheaval that can surround a band member’s exit you know that the issues are clear and in writing.   An entertainment attorney can help your band draft such an agreement, as well as assist you in the process of incorporating or forming another type of business entity.  Of course, you hope you never have to deal with these issues, but as a lawyer I like to try and plan for the worst but hope for the best.  Hope that you all have a happy new year, I look forward to sharing more insights with you in 2011.

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Can You Register the Undead for Copyright Protection?

November 19th, 2010

Hey there interwebs, sorry for the not posting for a bit.  I’ve been keeping busy with clients, writing projects and the punk rock awesomeness of Fest 9.  Fest was amazing as always, what a great weekend of music, hangs and just great community.  Among my favorite sets were Larry and His Flask poolside at the Holiday Inn on day 1, Dear Landlord dressed as Juggalos, as well as the always entertaining Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new friends.  Heard there were some amazing room shows, a secret show by Off With Their Heads, and even a lobby show by Frank Turner, a good time definitely seemed to be had by all.  Kudos to Tony and his Fest crew for another great year.

My post today is about copyright.  I was working on a column for the Scriptwriters’ Network newsletter on the subject, and used vampires and zombies to illustrate a point and thought I would share it here as well.  The copyright law makes distinctions as to what can and cannot receive copyright protection.  One such area is what are called scenes a faire, and it refers to those common elements of a theme such as characters, plots, scenes or other elements that are so indispensable to creating a work that to allow them copyright protection would make it nearly impossible to create another work on the subject.  You’ve probably noticed that when a particular trend is hot, a lot of movies and TV shows come out featuring that trend.  As of late the hot trend was and still somewhat continues to be vampires, though the new hot undead trend seems to be zombies.  Think of the common elements in zombie movies and television shows.  Your list probably includes people who have been bitten by zombies and are now undead, that also have a desire to eat brains, at night time, and attack humans to acquire said brains.  Now imagine trying to make a zombie movie or television show without those elements.  Could be pretty hard, right?  That’s the idea behind scenes a faire and similar doctrines of copyright law, is that to allow those common elements needed to make a zombie movie to be protected by copyright themselves could prevent new original works from being made using those elements.  What copyright does protect is the original expression that results from using those elements to create a work, not the elements themselves.  So the original expression that is ‘Evil Dead’ using those elements is protected by copyright law, but the idea of zombies itself would not be.

Just imagine where the show ‘True Blood’ or ‘Twilight’ books and movies would be if undead people who suck blood, have fangs, burn in sunlight (unless you’re a daywalker), sleep in coffins, and the like were all protected individually by copyright such that you would have to license all of them to create a new work using them.  It’s definitely interesting to think about.  Of course, whether an element is seen as a scene a faire or an infringement by the courts typically depends on whether the element is an expression or an idea.  The closer it is to an idea, the less likely it is to found to be protected, while the closer it is to an expression, the more likely it is to be found to be protected.  There can be instances, however, where an idea and expression are so closely intertwined that the expression can be found to not be protected under copyright because to protect the expression would prevent others from making original works using the elements that are ideas.  So in short, you can’t register the undead for copyright protection.  Hope you have a rad weekend.

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Adventures in Austin

October 12th, 2010

I spent part of last week at Game Developers Conference Online in Austin.  I’ve been trying to fit in one of the GDC conferences for the past few years, so when I lucked out and won a pass in the online scavenger hunt, I jumped at the chance to attend.  In addition to punk rock, an area I am really passionate about is the intersection of new technology and the law, and attending certainly fed right into that.  Tuesday started off with summits on game narrative, iPod game design, and 3-D stereoscopic gaming.  I had noticed that the game narrative summit featured a session on storytelling in the Rock Band games a while back on Twitter, and made a beeline for it Tuesday morning.  It was a great session, Design Director Chris Foster and Senior Writer Helen McWilliams from Harmonix discussed how they developed the narrative of the game, and a big theme was that they wanted to keep the game as true to the dream of being in a band we all have.  If you didn’t know, a lot of the people at Harmonix either are in bands or were in bands, including Ben Carr of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  The writers capitalized on this treasure trove of anecdotes, and as research recorded the musings of their coworkers one night at a local watering hole.  In addition to designing the game to follow the path a band’s career would take, such as moving on to better transportation and playing bigger venues, the writers also incorporated vignettes that would convey what it would be like to embark on that first trip as a band with a van.  They not only highlighted what was included in the game narrative, but also discussed some of the features that were removed, such as characters that would guide you through the game, as well as a global network of venues.   Narrative was of particular importance in developing the Beatles: Rock Band title, where Chris mentioned that they took great care to not have any virtual Beatles interacting or appearing too close to live footage from their careers.  It was also clear that the writers also took great care to respect the history of the band while creating a game that was fun to play.  Having written and spoken about licensing issues in music video games, it was really cool to get a look behind the scenes at the creative aspects of developing them.

I mostly stuck with the monetization track on Wednesday, and the talk was all about social gaming, virtual goods and how to make money with them.  The numbers on these games are fascinating, one speaker was saying that with a social game, 95 percent of users will not pay for the game, and of the remaining five percent, you really have to focus on the 1 percent who are your ‘whales’ as they say in the casinos.  Forget the 80-20 rule, apparently for social games it’s the 99-1 rule.  If you look at the growth of Zynga in terms of users and dollars, it’s incredible to think that such a small percentage of users is driving it.  Though when you multiply that by the more than 500 million users of Facebook, it’s clear that even a small percentage of such a huge audience can add up to big business.  There was also a lot of discussion of how to keep players engaged and coming back, the strategy and planning that goes into those games is incredible, especially if you consider that the average Facebook game only lasts 45 days.  The quickening pace of game development cycles was also a hot topic at GDC Online, for game apps on the iPhone and iPad the idea is to ship a game every three months.  Given how much time and work goes into programming and developing those games, I cannot imagine how you can turn it around in those short time frames, but companies and individuals are doing it.

Another panel I was excited to attend was the program on legal issues associated with selling virtual goods.  If you didn’t know, I co-edited a book that was released this year on intellectual property issues in computer gaming and virtual worlds that was published earlier this year by the American Bar Association.  Side note, another benefit of the conference was meeting people who responded to that sentence with “that’s awesome” instead of a glazed over look.  I also made a guy’s evening at the kickoff party by saying I liked his “Misfits/Danzig-y’ look.  Hey he did have that look going on.  Getting back to legal matters, Greg Boyd gave a great presentation on the veritable minefield of issues that can arise from selling virtual goods in games, from potentially violating state lottery and sweepstakes laws to SEC and banking regulations.  And that’s in addition to the additional layer of regulations game developers are subject to if their game is targeted at children.  Having recently spoken about some of these issues as part of a presentation on keeping kids safe in virtual worlds for Social Media Club Southwest Florida, I was certainly interested in hearing the presentation.  There were a lot of interesting questions from the audience, which I think there will continue to be as the virtual goods and social gaming areas grow.  Look for more posts on issues with virtual goods and other techie issues to come.     What a week, after GDC Online I was off to an entertainment law meeting, definitely left me feeling like some of my touring musician friends with all this travel.  Or George Clooney in ‘Up in the Air’.  Austin was a blast, I was definitely tempted to stay for the Austin City Limits Festival to see Muse and some of the other great bands on the lineup.

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