Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

275.2 sec. 001 - Video Game Law (Fall 2020)

Instructor: Todd Smithline  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 2
Grading Designation: Graded

Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction


Th 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Location: Internet/Online
From August 20, 2020
To November 20, 2020

Course Start: August 20, 2020
Course End: November 20, 2020
Class Number: 32747

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 23
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 12/07 09:41 AM

More than half of all Americans play video games -- whether through a browser, mobile device or game console -- and spending on interactive content now rivals that for TV and movies. Video games are great fun and big business, but what are the legal implications?

- How has copyright law evolved in an era when a hit iPhone game can spawn a lookalike competitor within months?

- Should trademark law prevent a developer from featuring real-world locations in their game?

- As games become stunningly realistic, when does a depiction of a college quarterback or rock star violate their right of publicity?

- Does limiting a minor's access to violent video games infringe their First Amendment rights?

We will answer these questions and more as we explore the legal issues surrounding how video games are developed, distributed and consumed. After learning the relevant law, we will assume the mantle of in-house counsel and conduct a mock developer-publisher negotiation and two other in-class exercises. Throughout the semester we will be joined by guests from the industry who will share their perspectives on how legal issues translate into actual practice. The class ends with a take-home final exam.

Todd Smithline is the managing principal of Smithline PC, a San Francisco law firm representing software, Internet and digital entertainment companies in their strategic licensing matters.

Real-time attendance at the first Zoom class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

Recommend that students have taken Introduction to Intellectual Property.

Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Course Category: Intellectual Property and Technology Law

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A reader will be used in this class.

Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

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