[Guest post] Conference report – More Than Just a Game came to Milan

Recently, Bocconi University hosted a new edition of the popular More Than Just a Game conference franchise. Alina Trapova (Bocconi University) has prepared a report.

Here's what Alina writes:

Conference report – More Than Just a Game came to Milan 

On 22 November 2019, Bocconi University hosted the first Italian edition of More Than Just a Game. The team effort in the organisation between Queen Mary University of London, Bocconi University and Insight Studio Legale culminated in an afternoon packed with many exciting discussions. More Than Just a Game, as some of you will know is an international series of academic-led conferences on video games and interactive entertainment law bringing together an international network of academics and practitioners passionate about all legal and regulatory aspects of video games. The topics at the conference looked at IP, content regulation, classification, consumer protection, contracts and eSports. 

Opening remarks by Gaetano Dimita (Queen Mary University of London), Alina Trapova (Bocconi University) and Aura Bertoni (Bocconi University) 
Panel 1: Intellectual Property Law 

The IP panel 
The first panel underpinned some of the aspects of IP law. First to present was Alessandro Cimaschi from Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, who looked at the game as a complex IP ecosystem and focused on the protection of trade marks. Alessandro stressed that video games are no longer only the attention of nerds. In that sense, he reminded us that the General Court following the suggestion of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal recently confirmed that the market for computer games has grown ‘from focused markets to mainstream’ (Case T‑700/18 Calypso Media v. Wizards of the Coast). 

The focus then shifted to Nicoletta Serao (Insight Studio Legale) and the production of Italian cultural heritage assets in video games. Nicoletta explored the implications of copyright law and the Italian code of cultural heritage when the reproduction of an architectural work and landscape is concerned. She highlighted that, in the absence of freedom of panorama exception in Italy, one falls back to the general exception to copyright infringement, which has a rather narrow scope and is limited only to non-commercial exploitation of works. As for the cultural heritage field, considering the circumstances if a work has fallen in the public domain, Nicoletta emphasised that that things are not much easier here for two reasons – first, it must be first established whether a work qualifies as a cultural heritage asset; and second, one is required to obtain an authorisation from the competent authority under the care of which the asset falls. 

The third speaker in this panel was Gianluca Campus (Senior Legal Counsel Technology & IP, Sky Italia) who explored the topic of digital content distribution in Italy. Focusing on cloud computing and the work done by the US National Institute of Science and Technology, the EU Commission and the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, Gianluca stressed that there is no single definition of what the cloud actually is. Then, with reference to the exhaustion of rights doctrine (ie the first sale doctrine in the US), the UsedSoft and ReDigi cases, Gianluca stressed how much cloud computing has changed the way digital content circulates. 

Panel 2: Content regulation, classification and consumer protection 

The second panel was dedicated to the regulation authorities – the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) and the Italian authority for the communication industries (AGCOM). First to present was Marina Catallozzi from the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), who delved into the consumer protection issues. Looking at the numbers, Marina noted that in 2018 about 14 000 complaints on grounds of consumer protection were received and 90 formal investigations were closed. With reference to several proceedings on unfair commercial practices and unlawful comparative advertising Marina then explained the various activities AGCM undertakes to safeguard consumers. 

The next speaker was Giulio Votano, Vice-director in the Audiovisual Content and Media Directorate at AGCOM, who spoke about the new Italian video game classification system. He explained that following Legislative Decree n 203/2017 AGCOM was entrusted with the task of child protection in the classification of audio-visual works on the web and in video games. Having noted that there are different classification systems in the world, Giulio explained that the AGCOM regulation applies to the distribution of video games in Italy by subjects under the Italian jurisdiction and that the method of regulation chosen is a co-regulatory, ie operators can opt either for the AGCOM system or the well-known PEGI system (Pan European Game Information). Different to PEGI the AGCOM system contains an extra category for the age range 4-6 since as it was explained the jump between 3 and 7 was considered too drastic for classification purposes. 

Panel 3: Contracts 

The next panel saw Oliver Oosterbaan from Leopold Meijnen Oosterbaan Advocaten turn to the use of US agreement models in the EU. Oliver stressed that many times these contracts really include boilerplates. Oliver then shed light on three particular aspects of these contracts, namely the inclusion of clauses on (i) work-for-hire and licenses; (ii) damages and indemnity; and (iii) termination and consequences thereof. 

Panel 4: eSports: Regulation, contract and global approaches 

The e-sports panel
The day closed with a panel discussion on e-sports. Moderated by Andrea Rizzi (Partner at Insight Studio Legale) the panel was composed of Alessandro Coni (Sports & Entertainment Legal Counsel at Sky Italia), Anna Stanishevskaya (Legal Counsel at Vizor Games LLC and Legal Advisor for Nemiga Gaming Esports team) and Massimiliano Rossi (General Manager of the Samsung Morning Stars eSsports team). Starting off the central general question of whether the eSports industry is mature enough, the discussion span over various legal and ethics questions, such as cheating and bans, internationally recognised dispute resolution bodies, touring arrangements and exploitation. Massimiliano’s first-hand experience of the industry shed light on the truths and myths in practice, while Alessandro, Anna and Andrea stirred the debate on the crucial question of regulation vs self-regulation.
[Guest post] Conference report – More Than Just a Game came to Milan [Guest post] Conference report – More Than Just a Game came to Milan Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Friday, December 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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