Category Archives: Social Media

You Need a Streaming License

Streamers are increasingly important to the success of indie video games and our clients often encourage streaming as a way to increase exposure without substantial expense.  However, recent streamer controversies illustrate the need for developers to include an explicit streaming license and code of conduct within the game’s End User License Agreement (EULA) with broad grounds for termination.

What is a streaming license?  A streaming license expressly grants users a license to stream the video game but makes it clear that this license can be revoked at any time, without notice or compensation.  Without this language, substantial ambiguity remains concerning the scope of the license and impact of termination.  Consider the following example:

DEVELOPER grants you a license to publicly display the Game on online video streaming websites, such as youtube.com and twitch.com, and social media, such as tweeting a GIF. DEVELOPER may terminate or modify the scope of this license at any time without notice or compensation and will not be liable to you or any third party for any loss incurred relating thereto.

You can also draft the license to fit your company’s particular needs.  For example, the streaming license could prohibit monetization of the stream.

Do you have a Code of Conduct?  In addition to a streaming license, we recommend that the EULA contain a user code of conduct that prohibits certain conduct, such as profanity, nudity etc.  Breach of this code could provide a basis for terminating a user’s streaming license, although not the only basis.

Can’t I just use the DMCA?  Yes, a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim is the quickest way to secure removal of a stream and  a clear streaming license (with termination language) provides a clear basis for making the DMCA claim.  Without a streaming license, unnecessary ambiguity remains concerning the impact of termination (for example, could liability follow if you terminate a lucrative stream that was previously permitted?).

In sum:  It benefits your streaming community to receive a clear streaming license and to understand the basis upon which the license can be used and revoked.  While you can remove an offensive stream without such a clause (under the DMCA), ambiguity does little to benefit your company or streaming community.

Game or App Ripped Off? Here’s what to do:

Whenever a developer discovers a copied version of their app/game, their immediate concern is how to remove it.  This post aims to outline the process for removing content that infringes your copyright from major app/game stores.

All major stores operated by U.S. companies (and often foreign companies) comply with the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  Simply summarized, the DMCA provides a notice-and-takedown procedure whereby a notice of copyright infringement sent to a DMCA Agent leads to the take down of infringing content.

STEP 1.  DMCA Notification

The DMCA Agent should be your primary contact as the DMCA specifies a procedure for copyright infringement claims and major stores will follow the procedure.  Here are links to the DMCA Agent for each major store:

Steam:  https://steamcommunity.com/dmca/create/

Apple:  http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/appstorenotices/

Google Android:  https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?product=androidmarket

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/208282075858952

Microsoft:  https://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtInfrg.aspx 

You must complete and send the notice of copyright infringement contained in these forms to the DMCA Agent in order to initiate the DMCA process.  After you send notice, the DMCA Agent should remove, or disable access to, the allegedly infringing app/game and send notification of such removal to the infringer.

DMCA Agent response time varies.  Indeed, U.S. courts are currently determining what period of time constitutes a reasonable response!

STEP 2.  Utilizing Connections and Social Media

After sending the notification, feel free to contact anyone you know at the app/game store or use Twitter and other social media to push your cause.  Often a campaign will cause a quick response from the DMCA Agent.

STEP 3.  Cease and Desist

Consider sending a cease and desist letter to the infringer as well, requesting that they remove the infringing content from the store (perhaps also request sales proceeds).  Where the store or website does not comply with the DMCA, this may be the first or second step.

STEP 4.  DMCA Counter Notification and Lawsuits

The infringer may respond with a counter notification claiming that the allegedly infringing content was removed as a result of mistake or misidentification.  The DMCA Agent, upon receiving counter notification, will let you know about the counter notification and will put the  content back on the store in 10-14 business days, unless  (before the content returns) you seek a restraining order against the alleged infringer and inform the DMCA Agent of the order.

In reality, the DMCA Agent likely will not receive a counter notification in the case of a blatant ripoff of your app/game.  Nonetheless, it’s important to know the steps that follow DMCA notification.