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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German Federal Court of Justice confirms Runes of Magic decision
September 18, 2014
This morning, the German Federal Court of Justice (the highest German civil court; “BGH”) has confirmed its July 2013 “Runes of Magic” decision (docket no. I ZR 34/12), banning an advertisement for in-game items allegedly targeted at children. This decision will likely have a considerable impact on anyone advertising and selling goods or services online. Read more
Apps and Digital Games: Complying with the new consumer protection laws in Germany
September 16, 2014
The Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU – “CRD”) has introduced quite a few new provisions specifically addressing the distribution of digital content like apps, digital games and any kind of digital content. In theory, the idea of implementing special regulations for digital businesses is not a bad one. But in practice there are some serious pitfalls to consider. We give an overview of the new rules and guidance on how to comply with the new consumer rights. Read more
German Court: Key Selling Infringes Copyright
September 12, 2014

Key Selling is a serious problem for the games industry. The resale of product keys compromises price structures and harms consumers and businesses equally. The games industry has now made a big step forward against such key selling practices. In the first case of its kind in Germany, the Regional Court of Berlin has decided that the business model of key selling infringes copyright and is illegal. The decision was not appealed and has become binding. Read more

Privacy Alert: “Cookie Sweep” about to take place in Europe
September 8, 2014

Following an announcement by the CNIL, (the French data protection authority) “Cookie Sweep Days” will take place across the EU between 15 – 19 September 2014. Now is a good time for companies to ensure that the use of cookies on their websites in the EU complies with the applicable data protection laws – which are unfortunately not as harmonized throughout the EU as one might hope. After Germany’s initiative regarding privacy compliance in mobile apps, this is the second time in only a few weeks that data protection authorities are announcing extra scrutiny regarding privacy law questions highly relevant for the games industry. Read more

Beware of the (Watch)Dog: German Authorities on Mobile App Privacy Policies
September 1, 2014
In a joint effort, a working group reuniting all German Data Protection Authorities (“DPAs”) has now published its long awaited guidelines for developers of mobile games and apps. The 33 page document defines legal requirements for apps and also addresses the underlying technical framework, and announces more intense enforcement action in the weeks and months ahead. Read more
Let’s Play! But Who Wins the Copyright Battle?
August 27, 2014
The concept of “Let’s Play” is simple: Gamers make a video of themselves while playing and comment on the event like a TV reporter during a telecasted sporting event. Live-streams and video clips of game performances produced this way are uploaded to video platforms accessible for the interested public. The market for Let’s Play videos is booming. While in Germany the online audience of Let’s Play users is growing constantly, there are already entire dedicated streaming channels for Let’s Play content in the US, on which registered users follow extensive gaming sessions.

However, from a German and European copyright point of view, this market raises some issues and uncertainties that have yet to be addressed in case law. Read more

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