A case with an interesting copyright twist has settled, thus scuttling our chance to see how a court would rule regarding copyright in cheat codes. In Allison v. Crave Online Media, David Allison owns or maintains, a website that provides cheat codes for various video games. Allison sued Crave Online Media for allegedly copying the cheat code postings from and putting them on its own web site. While Allison does not own the actual cheat codes (Allison is not a game developer), Allison claims Crave Online Media violated the copyright in the postings that included the cheat codes, to the extent there is additional copyrightable subject matter included in the postings. The extent of his copyright might be thin, however, since copyright does not protect underlying facts or ideas, it only protects their expression.

In any event, the guys over at the Davis & Company blog indicate that
the parties have settled on undisclosed terms. The case is Allison v. Crave Online Media, 1:2005cv01186 (USDC, District of Colorado).
In a newly filed lawsuit, Lucent claims that the Xbox 360 infringes its patent on MPEG-2 decoding. At the center of the dispute is Patent No. 5,227,878, "Adaptive Coding and Decoding of Frames and Fields of Video," issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Lucent on July 19, 1993, according to court papers filed by the company in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Claim 1 of the '878 patent reads:

1. An apparatus for encoding digital video signals, comprising:
a means for receiving a digital video input signal comprising a succession of digital representations related to picture elements making up at least one frame of a video image, the frame comprising a plurality of interlaced fields;
a means for coding groups of digital representations related to frames of picture elements;
a means for coding groups of digital representations related to interlaced fields in the frames; and
a means responsive to the digital video input signal for producing a field frame coding type signal which directs a selected one, but not both, of the frame coding means or the field coding means to code the digital video input signal.

Read more here.
China has upheld a guilty verdict and fine against a man who stole and sold players' games IDs and online equipment amid growing calls for more concrete virtual property laws.

Read more here.
In a logical extension of the MMO genre, a young Company, Electric Sheep, is helping big customers create a presence inside "Second Life," the popular virtual world in which people can do or build just about anything they can imagine and socialize with others anywhere in the real world.

Electric Sheep can help you out to customize an island, or what in Second Life is called a "sim"--a 16-acre piece of land that users can buy and do with what they like. Now there is a new party in the fight over who owns this virtual IP: Linden Labs (creator or Second Life), Electric Sheep (or some other third party developer), or you. Better read those contracts closely...

Read more here.
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