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This week’s second installment of the Reading Room features an article co-authored by James Gatto, head of the IP Section at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and Pillsbury IP associate Benjamin Esplin entitled Automated Program for Playing Virtual World Game Deemed Copyright Infringement (.pdf).  Readers will already be familiar with the case via this site’s extensive coverage MDY v. Blizzard, but this well-researched article concisely lays out the copyright issues in play and asks some important questions about the case’s long-term impact.  From Gatto and Esplin’s analysis:

Although the rulings here deal specifically with the use of third-party bot programs in conjunction with virtual world games, they may have implications for software disputes in other contexts, including cases involving issue of whether:

1. violation of EULA or TOU terms is a copyright infringement or breach of contract;

2. loading software from a hard drive to RAM constitutes “copying”;

3. technological measures to prevent access are circumvented in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; and

4. injunctive relief is available to preclude a copyright infringer from releasing the infringing code as “open source” software.

The site’s Reading Room is here to make virtual law papers and articles broadly available to the growing field of attorneys and scholars interested in virtual law. If you have an article you’d like to have hosted, drop me a note.

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