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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Privacy Policies for Apps: This is how it’s done!
February 15, 2017
Google is currently taking action against apps violating the Play Store’s User Data Policy. As The Next Web reports, in most cases apps are missing the required privacy policy. Developers are prompted to resolve the issues by March 15, 2017. Otherwise, the company has announced it will limit the visibility of concerned apps in the store or even remove violating apps completely.

Data privacy and apps is a topic that often leads to insecurities for developers and publishers entering the German and EU markets, and we’d like to take this opportunity to give an overview on how you can prevent Google from sanctioning your titles, and more generally what app developers and publishers have to consider regarding privacy policies in Germany and the EU. Read more

Virtual currencies, eSports and social gaming: a fresh look at the boundaries between gaming and gambling in the UK
February 11, 2017
A small but increasing number of games are based on, or incorporate, mechanics that have an appearance of gambling.  For example, some social games consist of a gambling style game, such as roulette; some PC and console games may contain mini gambling style games that are a small ancillary element within that game, such as a gaming machine within a building in the game.

This can give rise to a possibility that the game falls within the definition of gambling in the Gambling Act 2005 (GA 2005).  Under the GA 2005, providing facilities for gambling without a licence (or applicable exemption) is a criminal offence.

Commercial gambling in Great Britain is regulated by the Gambling Commission, an organisation that was established under the GA 2005.  Unsurprisingly, the Gambling Commission has been paying increasingly close attention to games.

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New Regulation for “Loot Boxes” in China – International Impact for all Online Games?
February 2, 2017
Over the last few weeks, a new regulation initiative from China has globally caught the attention of the games community: The Chinese Ministry of Culture recently published a new regulation that imposes an obligation on publishers to disclose certain detailed information about in-game items which the gamer can receive or purchase in the game – including the odds for receiving a certain type of item in a “loot box”. While this development has been met with a positive response especially from foreign gamers and speculations about its international impacts have already started, the actual consequences for the online game sector remain uncertain. Read more
Spain Moves Forward on Video Games Tax Incentives and eSports
January 24, 2017
The Spanish video games community has lately received two important good news. On the one hand, the Spanish legislature has given course to two bills addressed to facilitating the investment flows into the industry in the Spanish market. On the other, the industry has recently welcomed the establishment of the Spanish Videogames and eSports Federation (Federación Española de Videojuegos y eSports – “Feves”). Read more
Italy extends Tax Benefits for Audiovisual Works – Good News for Games?
January 17, 2017
The Italian legislature has established several measures in favour of the cinema and audio-visual sector and a mandate has been given to the Government to reform some sector laws, assimilating – in some cases – video games and audio-visual products with film products. Among other innovations, a new law introduces, with effect from 2017, new tax benefits based on the instrument of the tax credit and indicates the main rules and areas of application. However, it is not yet clear to what extent video game companies will actually benefit from the new schemes. Read more
German Games Industry Presents Model Bill For Development Tax Credits
January 10, 2017
Games are often cutting-edge technology, and always an important economic factor and a cultural asset. It is hardly surprising that many countries support their development for one or more of these reasons, often by granting tax credits or other tax incentives. Germany however does not yet have a dedicated incentive scheme. The German games industry association BIU has set out to change that, and recently presented a draft model bill on tax incentives for video game development. Read more
Vindication for No Man’s Sky as ads on the game’s Steam page are held not to be misleading
January 4, 2017
No Man’s Sky (NMS) gathered a lot of negative press following its release; the key complaint was the lack of specific features that had been shown in videos posted onto video sharing platforms and social media networks prior to the game’s launch, but which were not available in the launch version of the game.  However, NMS still achieved impressive sales figures, maintains a healthy fan base and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now held that the ads and content found on the Steam page for NMS were not misleading. Read more
Letter from Poland: New gambling regulations – think loot crates and microtransactions
September 13, 2016
We are very grateful for our readers all over Europe for sharing their views and comments on the topics we dicuss 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 hopefully regular new feature, the “Letter from …”. This installment of the series comes from Warsaw again – fellow IT/IP law blogger Jakub Kubalski takes a tour d’horizon for 2017, with gambling regulations expanding their reach into online games law. Read more
Age Rating in Virtual Reality Environments
August 25, 2016
The rapid development of virtual reality technology lets players immerse themselves into digital worlds, and additional accessories introduce a physical experience to gaming, letting gamers feel vibrations and even punches. It is yet unclear, however, how such optional hardware affects age ratings. Up until now, the hardware used to play games has never been in the focus of classification procedures. Dedicated virtual reality content will however require a differentiating view, which will also pose technical challenges for ratings organizations. Read more
Social Gaming and Gambling – An increasingly blurred border?
August 23, 2016
The term ‘gaming’ means different things to different people. It can be used in a wide sense to refer to the playing of any game, but can also be used in a narrow sense to refer to the playing a game that involves gambling. Similarly, one sometimes hears the interactive entertainment industry referred to as the ‘gaming industry’, when this description would more accurately only be used to refer to the ‘gambling industry’. This confusion is not limited to terminology. Over recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to draw a clear distinction between games that constitute gambling (and therefore subject to gambling legislation) and games that are purely social games (and therefore fall outside the scope of gambling legislation). Read more