VGBA: Second edition of the European Game Business & Legal Affairs Su...

The Video Game Bar Association, a non-profit organisation uniting experienced video games industry lawyers, is hosting a second edition of its European Summit on Game Business and Legal Affairs at gamescom again this year.  The VGBA European Summit will be held concurrently with gamescom congress on August 18, 2016 at the koelnmesse in Cologne.

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After Safe Harbor: Germany imposes fines for US data transfers

Due to the judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Commission´s Safe Harbor agreement, many companies which had sent personal data to U.S. companies lost the essential legal basis for these data transfers. Now, data protection authorities in the German federal state of Hamburg have drawn first consequences and have imposed fines […]

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Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 3 of 3: Mobile Games and IARC)

Game ratings are crazy complicated: Multiple rating systems are used all over the world, and of course, these systems are not really compatible. Not ideal when distributing digital content for global markets. That’s where IARC steps in: This automated system generates regionalized age ratings for app stores and other platforms depending on the user’s location. It’s already used by […]

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VGBA: Second edition of the European Game Business & Legal Affairs Summit
July 14, 2016
The Video Game Bar Association, a non-profit organisation uniting experienced video games industry lawyers, is hosting a second edition of its European Summit on Game Business and Legal Affairs at gamescom again this year.  The VGBA European Summit will be held concurrently with gamescom congress on August 18, 2016 at the koelnmesse in Cologne. Read more
After Safe Harbor: Germany imposes fines for US data transfers
June 10, 2016
Due to the judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Commission´s Safe Harbor agreement, many companies which had sent personal data to U.S. companies lost the essential legal basis for these data transfers. Now, data protection authorities in the German federal state of Hamburg have drawn first consequences and have imposed fines (EUR 8,000 – 11,000) upon a number of companies in Hamburg that had failed to implement alternative privacy compliance schemes for their data transfers to the USA. Read more
Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 3 of 3: Mobile Games and IARC)
April 20, 2016
Game ratings are crazy complicated: Multiple rating systems are used all over the world, and of course, these systems are not really compatible. Not ideal when distributing digital content for global markets. That’s where IARC steps in: This automated system generates regionalized age ratings for app stores and other platforms depending on the user’s location. It’s already used by Microsoft’s Windows Store, the Google Play Store and the Firefox Marketplace. Read more
Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 2 of 3: Virtual Reality)
April 12, 2016
The rapid development of virtual reality technology lets players immerse themselves into digital worlds. Virtual reality headsets are already used in numerous video games to deliver astonishingly real gaming experiences. It is yet unclear, however, how exactly the technology affects age ratings for video games. We explore some ideas. Read more
Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 1 of 3: The Basics)
March 24, 2016
Content rating systems are used to classify games for suitable age groups in most countries with relevance for the games industry. Age ratings can create restrictions on marketing and distribution of games, but also help consumers make better choices and provide legal certainty for publishers.

While PEGI has established itself as the main rating system in Europe, some jurisdictions use modified versions, and Germany has a different approach altogether. The German USK ratings are non-compatible to PEGI and merit a closer look for anyone distributing content in Germany, whether online or offline. Read more

European Court of Justice backs German private sports betting market
February 12, 2016
On 4 February 2016, the European Court of Justice decided that the German monopoly on sports bets infringes European Law and that thus prosecution authorities may not prosecute brokers of sports bets as long as they are relying on EU-licensed providers (European Court of Justice, case C‑336/14). Read more
Letter from Russia: Russian Data Localization Law
February 10, 2016
We are very grateful for our readers all over Europe for sharing their views and comments on the topics we discuss in this blog. Sometimes, readers’ comments could be blog posts in their own right. We have decided to feature such comments (with the author’s consent of course) as a regular feature, the “Letter from …”. This instalment of the series comes from Vladislav Arkhipov, fellow games law blogger, of counsel at Dentons and associate professor at the Saint Petersburg State University. Vladislav summarizes the Russian Data Localization law that obliges online games operators and other service providers to host personal data of their Russian customers within Russia.   Read more
Evolving standards: Fewer content-based restrictions for video games in Germany
February 4, 2016
Germany is notorious for its strict and somewhat complicated youth protection legislation. If the age ratings boards refuse a rating for a movie or game, a federal review authority (the BPjM) can step in and impose severe marketing restrictions – referred to as “indexing” – that effectively halt both physical and digital distribution. This year, however, has seen a series of decisions by those federal watchdogs that may indicate a liberalized approach to a number of issues. Read more
Spain: Crowdfunding Video Games is becoming an Investment Market
January 26, 2016
The credit austerity over the last years has limited access to “classic” credit in particular for start-up and indie video game studios in Spain. This situation has boosted the development of alternative fundraising strategies. Crowdfunding has become one of the new financing systems from the standpoint of the patronage or sponsorship, and is heavily used by the video games industry in Spain. Read more
New UK consumer protection rights for digital content
January 14, 2016
On 1 October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) came into force in the UK. It has been described as the biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation and consolidates, updates and improves UK consumer law. However, of particular interest is that for the first time in UK consumer law, the CRA expressly provides consumers with rights and remedies in relation to digital content. Read more