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Society & Culture
Virtual Legality Episode 55

MT Words: The Legal Issues Posed by Senator's Proposed Microtransaction Ban

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2y May 10, 2019
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On May 8, 2019, Senator Josh Hawley announced his plan to introduce a bill in the United States Senate that would see the prohibition of "loot boxes" and "pay-to-win" mechanics from games targeting children.

Light on facts and light on specifics, the announcement itself left much to be desired (and explained), but that didn't stop numerous industry outlets from reporting on the proposal.

What does it mean for a game to target children?

How does the existing Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) play in to Senator Hawley's plans?

Why might reliance on that act be deficient, and could the current understanding of "gaming" in Congress result in total prohibition?

Why should responsible folks who otherwise enjoy loot boxes be prevented from using them in games with "Candy-land aesthetics"?

Why does Senator Hawley target Candy Crush when reports show that the game is primarily played by women over the age of majority?

And what are other things that folks don't like (but still shouldn't be banned).

It's time for Virtual Legality.

FOR MORE ON...

(1)LOOT BOX BANS

"Virtual Legality #2 - Will the FTC Really Ban Loot Boxes? (Hoeg Law)"
(https://youtu.be/PGhikKvy2Ns)

"Virtual Legality #3 - IGDA Calls the Industry to Act on Loot Boxes (Hoeg Law)"
(https://youtu.be/qb6r1DzDhsE)

(2) GOVERNMENT

"Virtual Legality #7 - Gaming, Government, and You (Hoeg Law)"
(https://youtu.be/gQ_sJi07oV4)

#LootBox #Ban #VirtualLegality


Discussed in this episode:

"U.S. Senator Introduces Bill To Ban Loot Boxes And Pay-To-Win Microtransactions"
Kotaku - May 8, 2019 - Jason Schreier
(https://kotaku.com/u-s-senator-introduces-bill-to-ban-loot-boxes-and-pay-1834612226)

Legislation Sponsored by Josh Hawley
Official Website of the U.S. Congress
(https://www.congress.gov/member/josh-hawley/H001089?q={"sponsorship"%3A"sponsored"})

The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act - Summary
(https://www.hawley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2019-05-08_Protecting-Children-Abusive-Games-Act_One-Pager.pdf)

"CHILDREN'S ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT (COPPA)"
15 U.S.C. 91
http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title15-chapter91&saved=|Z3JhbnVsZWlkOlVTQy1wcmVsaW0tdGl0bGUxNS1zZWN0aW9uNjUwMQ%3D%3D|||0|false|prelim&edition=prelim)

"PART 312—CHILDREN'S ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION RULE"
Rules Promulgated under COPPA
(https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=4939e77c77a1a1a08c1cbf905fc4b409&node=16%3A1.0.1.3.36&rgn=div5#se16.1.312_12)

The Heroes of Overwatch
(https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/heroes)

Blizzard Entertainment Online Privacy Policy
(https://www.blizzard.com/en-us/legal/a4380ee5-5c8d-4e3b-83b7-ea26d01a9918/blizzard-entertainment-online-privacy-policy)

"SENATOR HAWLEY TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION BANNING MANIPULATIVE VIDEO GAME FEATURES AIMED AT CHILDREN"
Press Release - May 8, 2019
(https://www.hawley.senate.gov/senator-hawley-introduce-legislation-banning-manipulative-video-game-features-aimed-children)

"Candy Crush – The Puzzle Game Phenomenon"
Indium Website - December 22, 2017
(https://www.indiumsoftware.com/blog/testing-candy-crush-game/#Demographics_and_Statistics)


PODCAST VERSIONS AVAILABLE AT

Spotify: (https://open.spotify.com/show/3qsDhQ7h6BR2wLyNQYDWB4)

iTunes:
(https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/virtual-legality/id1448785539?mt=2)

SoundCloud:
(https://soundcloud.com/user-510342404)

Google Play Music:
(https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/In3d7qersx72lvzehxo7gu6cd5u)


"Virtual Legality" is a continuing series discussing the law, video games, software, and everything digital, hosted by Richard Hoeg, of the Hoeg Law Business Law Firm (Hoeg Law).

Rick has practiced for more than a decade at some of the country's largest law firms, representing IT, software, video game, and other technology companies, as well as the individuals and institutions which fund them.

DISCUSSION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN THE LEGAL TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS VIDEO SHOULD CONSULT WITH THEIR OWN COUNSEL.

Any and all feedback is appreciated. Let us know what you think!


Blog, "Rules of the Game", at https://hoeglaw.wordpress.com/

On "Help Us Out Hoeg!" a regular segment on the Easy Allies Podcast (formerly GameTrailers)

(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrxXp1reP8E353rZsB3jaA)

Biweekly on "Inside the Huddle with Michael Spath" on WTKA 1050

About Hoeg Law

The Hoeg Law Firm is a business law firm with big law experience and a small firm approach focusing on start-ups, technology, financing, and everything else a business might need.


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