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I don't normally track foreign video game cases, but perhaps I should. However, it does make one more category of work for me in view of all my regular work and blogging efforts. If only I had some help... In any event, a reader (thanks Tim!) passed this morsel along, and its worth sharing.

Square Enix, the company best known for the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts titles, recently won a copyright infringement lawsuit in South Korea over Fantom Entertainment Group over unauthorized use of scenes from Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII: ADVENT CHILDREN, a CG-animated film. According to the press release, “the amount of damages awarded [300 Million Korean Won] … in this case is the largest the courts in South Korea have ever awarded in cases infringing one single work of art.” Square-Enix’s GC remarked that “Square Enix will continue to take decisive action against any infringements upon the Company’s intellectual property, recognizing that this property is one of our most crucial resources."

The infringing subject matter at issue has to do with a scene from FFVII: Advent Children, and a music video from Korean singer Ivy in the song “Sonata of Temptation.” The Korean singer appropriated the content from Square-Enix without their permission or authorization. Below are the links to the respective videos; the similarities between the two are immediately apparent, and quite striking.

Original Content from FFVII: Advent Children

Ivy - Sonata of Temptation (Music Video)

Square Enix Press Release

(Thanks to Tim Hsieh for finding this)
Disney has announced that its Virtual Magic Kingdom will close May 21, 2008,... for good. The VMK is no longer accepting new users, either. Disney's VMK was launched in 2005 as a promotional tool, and turned out to be much more. About 15,000 people per day still log in and, chat, play, and explore in the VMK. The news has come as quite a shock to some, and over 10,000 people have even signed a petition asking Disney to keep it open. The shuttering of VMK, and the public response, demonstrate that even though virtual worlds and MMOGs are governed by end-user license agreements (EULAs) or Terms of Service (ToS), players inherently create a vested interest in the game, irrespective of the contractual nature of the player-provider relationship. Players make friends, create bonds, develop groups, and in some sense even come to rely on the virtual world being there the next day. So for those trying to get Disney to keep it open, I wish you luck. And when it comes to the Mouse, you'll need it!

Read More: Article 1 - Article 2
Somehow this well reported case got overlooked here at the Patent Arcade, and that appears to be because I thought I'd already written about it. In any event, it now gets its own post...

On October 24, 2007, six content owners in Second Life sued Thomas Simon, aka Rase Kenzo, for infringing their copyrights in various online goods. Also included in the complaint were counts for unfair competition and false description of origin, conspiracy, and counterfeiting. The goods included clothing and scripted furniture (aka, sex beds), among other things. After only two months it appears that Mr. Simon saw the light and the plaintiffs proved their point--the case settled in December, 2007, for about $525, and an agreement by Mr. Simon to cease his questionable activities.

At the very least this case is important because it demonstrates the seriousness that many Second Life content creators give to their businesses, treating their intellectual property just as any other business would. The stakes will only get higher as virtual worlds such as Second Life get bigger, and the players have even more money at stake.

Documents:

Complaint-07_10_24_eros_et_al_v_simon_complaint.pdf

Settlement-ecf.nyed.uscourts.gov_cgi-bin_show_temp.pdf
IBM said today that it would become the first company to host private regions of the virtual world Second Life on its own computer servers.

The project is in testing and will go live within several weeks. This appears to be part of "the Grid," which marks a new focus by Second Life's parent company, Linden Lab, on providing software and services to corporate customers who want to use the virtual world for collaboration and teleconferencing with more assurances of privacy and security than is offered by Linden Labs.

Read more here.
Today the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Tafas' and Smithkline Beecham's Motions for Summary Judgment, effectively holding that the USPTO's proposed 5/25 and 2+1 rules regarding claims and continuation practice are illegal, and therefore null and void.

Read the opinion here:
GSKSummJudgOPINION.pdf

The case is: Tafas v. Dudas, Docket No. 1:07cv846, as combined with Smithkline Beecham Corporation v. Dudas, Docket No. 1:07cv1008, in the Eastern District of Virginia, before judge Cacheris.

Now we wait to see if there is an appeal...
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