EU: Prohibition on payment surcharges starting January 2018

With the adoption of the revised Directive on Payment Services (PSD2), the EU has essentially banned surcharges for using specific payment methods. Currently, national legislators are implementing the regulation. As of January 13, 2018, most provisions stipulating additional fees for payments by bank transfer, direct debit or debit/credit card will be prohibited.

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Implementing decrees for e-sport competitions in France

Bearing in mind the huge economic and legal impacts of e-sport (representing a worldwide market of around 600 millions of dollars with a growth rate of 30% per year according to a report by French MPs dated March 2016[1]), it is not surprising that various countries try to regulate the e-sport business. Since the Digital […]

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Germany: New Draft of Guidance on Withholding Tax in the Context of Softwa...

On 17 May 2017, the German Ministry of Finance released a draft circular aimed at resolving the on-going debate on the application of withholding tax in the context of software and database licensing from foreign entities to German licensees. Game developers but also publishers outside of Germany grapple with this issue when they use German […]

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EU: Prohibition on payment surcharges starting January 2018
September 20, 2017
With the adoption of the revised Directive on Payment Services (PSD2), the EU has essentially banned surcharges for using specific payment methods. Currently, national legislators are implementing the regulation. As of January 13, 2018, most provisions stipulating additional fees for payments by bank transfer, direct debit or debit/credit card will be prohibited. Read more
Implementing decrees for e-sport competitions in France
September 12, 2017
Bearing in mind the huge economic and legal impacts of e-sport (representing a worldwide market of around 600 millions of dollars with a growth rate of 30% per year according to a report by French MPs dated March 2016[1]), it is not surprising that various countries try to regulate the e-sport business. Since the Digital Republic Act in last October, e-sports competitions have a legal framework in France. Following this Act, two implementing decrees were adopted on 9 May 2017, clarifying the new framework. Read more
Germany: New Draft of Guidance on Withholding Tax in the Context of Software Licensing
September 5, 2017
On 17 May 2017, the German Ministry of Finance released a draft circular aimed at resolving the on-going debate on the application of withholding tax in the context of software and database licensing from foreign entities to German licensees.

Game developers but also publishers outside of Germany grapple with this issue when they use German publishing partners or even their own German subsidiaries to distribute games on a royalty basis, which may be subject to withholding tax.

The new insights gained after an analysis of the new draft circular are crucial to every foreign entity licensing software or databases to or distributing them through German customers or business partners. While the draft does clarify that in many cases, distribution of games is not subject to withholding tax, it suggests that digital distribution may or may not be subject to withholding tax depending on details of the distribution model. It has to be noted that this guidance is still a draft and not yet in force due to the on-going discussion regarding this subject. Read more

EU Legislation Watch: New Rules for Consumer Contracts under the Digital Content Directive
August 29, 2017
As part of the Digital Single Market initiative, European legislators are in the final stages of implementing a new Directive that will fundamentally change the contractual regime for selling digital content to European consumers. In particular, the new instrument will introduce the concept of “payment by data”, mandate portability of user account contents upon termination, and introduce significant statutory warranties. The scope of this directive is broad, and it will affect all online and mobile games providers selling to European customers. Read more
Games Lawyers: Join Us @ Video Game Bar Association Euro Summit
July 17, 2017
Attention games lawyers: For the third time, the Video Game Bar Association is putting on the one-day Euro Summit as a part of gamescom congress.

  • When: Wednesday, 23 August 2017, 11:45 AM to 5:00 PM (+ drinks afterwards)
  • Where: Congress-Centrum Nord, Cologne (directly at gamescom)
  • Cost: You (only) need a gamescom congress ticket, starting at EUR 59.
  • Register here – the registration also takes you to the ticket purchase website.

For this year’s edition, we have tweaked the format a little bit to add more in-depth knowledge sharing through individual keynotes alongside the traditional panel discussions.

We are particularly excited about our special guest, Parliamentary State Secretary Ulrich Kelber, who will be speaking about the EU’s Digital Single Market initiative and the proposed Digital Content Directive. Other topics include privacy and eSports.

For more details on the schedule, to register, and to see who else is coming, you can visit the conference website here.

A New Player in the Consumer Protection Game: German Antitrust Authority Assumes Additional Jurisdiction
July 13, 2017
A recent amendment to the German Competition Act has given the federal antitrust authority (the “Bundeskartellamt”) additional jurisdiction to investigate violations of consumer protection law. While the authority will not be able to impose any fines, it can launch sector-wide investigations and intervene as an amicus curiae in court procedures, and has already created a new consumer protection division for this purpose. Read more
Business Immigration 101: Getting Developers Into Europe
March 14, 2017
Games companies most often have a very diverse and international culture – but sometimes it can be a challenge to hire non-Europeans in the EU. Here is a hopefully helpful overview of business immigration rules in some major EU jurisdictions:

Do You Have A Youth Protection Officer? – Germany Revamps Youth Protection Rules
March 8, 2017
After 13 years of stasis despite massive technological progress, the first revision of the State Treaty on Youth Protection in the Media (sometimes also referred to as Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors (JMStV)) in October of 2016 represents an effort by German state legislators to adapt their jointly enacted youth protection regulations to the ever-changing realities of digital environments.

These changes come at a time when traditional age rating standards are shifting. Over the past few years, a number of hitherto “indexed” games (subject to heavy marketing restrictions) have been re-rated, and it has been possible in a number of cases to obtain age-ratings for sequels to “indexed” games, even though their content was similar. Read more

Clarifications on Withdrawal Right Expected in German Consumer Law
March 1, 2017
Since the implementation of the EU Consumer Rights Directive in 2014, Consumers across the EU have a new statutory withdrawal right in contracts for the purchase of „digital content“. Unlike in other types of agreements, it is possible for content providers to obtain a waiver of this right prior to delivering the content – but some crucial details are not yet very clear. Some initial case law suggests that operators of mobile and online games need to very carefully structure their purchase processes if they want to invoke a consumer’s waiver under German law – and consumer groups are ever vigilant and keen to take legal action against any breaches. Read more
In a Nutshell: New Data Protection Regulation in the EU
February 27, 2017
The long-awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect on 25 May 2018.

The GDPR constitutes the biggest change to the data protection regime in the EU since the 1995 Data Protection Directive, and introduces fundamental changes, including:

  • harmonisation and further development of data protection regimes across the EU;
  • extension of the regime to apply to non-EU businesses that operate in the EU (in line with EU e-commerce and consumer laws); and
  • potential for businesses to be fined EUR 20 million or up to 4% of their worldwide turnover for serious violations of the GDPR

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