Hey folks!

I've had three great AMAs in this sub over the past two years, a 100 more in /r/gamedev, and I've really enjoyed being a part of this community when shit hits the fan (I get over 50 summons a day, try to answer them all!). Today I'm here to very happily announce that I have joined the Headgum network with my podcast Robot Congress. The podcast is about the law meeting the future.

Do we need consent to sleep with a self-aware sex robot? Will we own our organs in 20 years? What is the future of transportation?

My co-host Austin (/u/RobotAustin) and myself will be here to answer any questions you may have about the show, ideas for future topics, syncing up with Jake and Amir, or anything else you might want to ask!

Download on iTunes here!

Or download straight from HeadGum here

My Proof

My twitter

Comments: 124 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

Edgefish26 karma

On the Itchy & Scratchy CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key?

VideoGameAttorney18 karma

I'll field this one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "Genius at Work" spend all of this time watching a children's cartoon show?

Bbilbo110 karma

What's your take on the Digital Homicide / Jim Sterling Lawsuit? Does digi-hom have ANY legitimate case, here? What could be the long-term consequences of this lawsuit when it comes to games criticism and fair use?

VideoGameAttorney17 karma

It's a nice headline, but aren't they representing themselves? In my experience, if they had any kind of case, with a price tag in the millions, they'd have contingency attorneys chomping at the bit to help.

Honestly don't know enough to comment specifically, but from the little I've read, it seems like nothing Jimmy should even blink twice at.

Abstruse5 karma

They're running a crowdfunding campaign to hire a lawyer. They keep taking it down and putting it back up because of "trolls".

VideoGameAttorney8 karma


Bertonicus7 karma

OP, Why does Austin always feed? Please explain!

RobotAustin9 karma

He does the work that needs to be done. He isn't the pusher you need, he's the pusher you deserve.

Also it's so easy to overextend with Xul, he's a melee specialist with no escape!

Zagara is where it's really at.

VideoGameAttorney5 karma

Because of Zagara's great escape? Everyone laugh at this man!

VideoGameAttorney6 karma

Because he's the worst. Always out of position!

billygoat2107 karma

I said this one twitter but I LOVE the intersection of philosophy, technology, and other mundane things. Please explore that more even if it's "just your opinion man".

Will you be talking about cases you've worked once they're said and done? I'm interested in knowing how things really work in this field of law as a layman.

VideoGameAttorney6 karma

I will definitely talk about some old cases, and even am having some old clients on as guests to go into the things we can talk about! Austin is hyper intelligent (despite how dumb he sounds), but knows nothing about law. So it allows for a really good conversation between us with philosophy meeting actual legislation. That said, thanks for suffering through the first episode. We are new at this still, haha.

billygoat2102 karma

I'll be honest, the tangent was just about one degree too long but you're a lawyer so I don't expect that to happen often. You both are intelligent and have a lot of good things to say please keep it up. Do you have a release schedule planned out or is it whenever?

VideoGameAttorney3 karma

Every Wednesday! And no promises we won't ramble here and there, haha

TaintedLion5 karma

Hey VideoGameAttorney, what is your take on the whole Minecraft EULA deal thing a while back (you know, about having pay2win and buying in-game items with real money, even though the EULA prohibits that, but people still do it anyway)? Is there any way to really enforce that rule?

VideoGameAttorney4 karma

Won't be giving out specific legal advice today, and I recommend you check out one of my legal AMA's over at /r/gamedev that go on nearly weekly, but the long and short is: Of course there is! It's their game, and they control their EULA. If they have a rule you're breaking, your server will get destroyed if they want it to be. There will be no recourse there, despite what a lot of angry forum posters might say ;)

TaintedLion2 karma

But even though this has been going on for a long time, a lot of servers still do this, and are continuing to get away with this clear breach of the EULA. I have seen a transcript of a conversation between a server owner and a Mojang employee, trying to tell them that they are not breaking the EULA, to a MOJANG EMPLOYEE, and it is the cringiest thing I have read in a while. I can understand why they are doing it, I mean, servers aren't cheap to run, if you're renting one, but surely there must be other ways to finance running a server e.g. voluntary donations with no perks?

VideoGameAttorney3 karma

All I can say is that everyone has had two years to comply. If they haven't, they're going to soon with they did :(

Won't be second chances or cease and desists before the blacklistings come, in my opinion.

TaintedLion3 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Wow, VideoGameAttorney, great moves, keep it up, proud of you! ;)

VideoGameAttorney2 karma

papa bless

TG-Sucks4 karma

Videogame attorney eh? Have you ever had the chance to say "OBJECTION!!" in court?

VideoGameAttorney7 karma

I just yell HOLD IT instead.

MadeaIsMad4 karma

What is your take on free to play private servers.

Do you represent any?

What is the legal ramifications of running one for profit?

VideoGameAttorney9 karma

When you say free to play private servers, do you mean someone that takes an existing game (let's say everquest) and hosts their own server with a different version of everquest on it? Those are entirely illegal from an IP stand point, and I don't know any legal claims to say differently. I'd love to play some old games untouched from expansions and changes, but if the IP holder doesn't want to release it, not much we can do when that IP holder decides to swing a hammer at a private run server.

Legal ramifications are life shattering. Millions upon millions.

Arathian3 karma

What happened was (today) a private vanilla WoW server (meaning not owned by Blizzard) was DMCAd.

The weird thing about that server is that it had absolutely no money making scheme, not even a donate button. It was 100% free.

One question I have is, considering the fact that vanilla WoW doesn't exist any more in any form (blizzard nuked the original in cataclysm) and that there wasn't ANY monetization, could they form any fair use claim?

VideoGameAttorney7 karma

Not even a slight chance.

MNMader3 karma

In the podcast, cybernetic enhancements were talked about and it made me think of Greenberg v Miami Children's Hospital Research Institute, Inc. where children with a rare disease gave blood samples but were denied any kind of compensation.

Do you think this will continue if someone's genetic material is used as the base for an enhancement that someone else profits off of?

VideoGameAttorney3 karma

Ooh that's a great question! Unfortunately, we will probably see people assigning full rights to their genetic code when they get paid the $100 for whatever research experiment they sign up for. I would love to see some law made where your genetics are treated the same as your likeness.

IFapICumIFapAgain3 karma

Compared to movies and TV Shows, what are courtroom hearings REALLY like?

Are they as intense and dramatic?

Also, what do "lawyer movies" fail to show? Like the boring stuff.

VideoGameAttorney7 karma

Entirely different. To move away from the podium, as an attorney, or get "loud" or combative with a witness, you need to get permission to treat that witness as hostile. In movies/shows, lawyers run around the courtroom screaming and shouting. Not how it works. Although, you do get a lot of impassioned speeches, and often times a good salesman/attorney will convince a jury more than evidence. Broken system I tells ya. Thank god I'm charming as hell. (I also don't litigate much, if ever. My partner, Michael Lee, is the bite to my bark).

IFapICumIFapAgain2 karma

Thanks for the answer!

Follow-up question, what shows do you think show or are close to showing an accurate depiction of a courtroom drama?

Also, on the lawyer side of things; what's your opinion on Daredevil and Better Call Saul?

RobotAustin6 karma

Remember that episode of Futurama where the crew has to reenact Single Female Lawyer for the Omicronians?

It's like that.

VideoGameAttorney2 karma

Spot on

eSportsAgent3 karma

/u/videogameattorney What do you think about Raynor's who have difficulty outrunning lasers, and when are we playing HotS again?

VideoGameAttorney9 karma

My valla is untouchable. And any time you want! Open invite to everyone on here to PM me and get some sweet sweet HotS action going. (I'm so so sorry /r/dota2...I've sold out so hard...but 20 minute games are amazing)

Jpfunk863 karma

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Talking all that dota good stuff for so long :). We gotta tag up buddy.

VideoGameAttorney1 karma

Absolutely! Long overdue

gentrifiedasshole1 karma

If you love 20 minute games, you should checkout Smite. Think of it as LoL from a 3rd person, over-the-shoulder POV. The official "main" game mode is Conquest, which is the usual 3 lane game mode that every MOBA has, but there are other modes like Arena, which is basically just a 5v5 mayhem with no objectives, and is actually the most played game mode in Smite, and Assault, an ARAM game mode.

VideoGameAttorney1 karma

I've tried smite, but heroes has all the nostalgia love I was missing as well.

mickeyknoxnbk2 karma

What was it like to play an autistic savant in Rainman? Did you like working with Tom Cruise?

VideoGameAttorney7 karma

Please let's keep all questions related to rampart

PentagramJ22 karma

Is there anything you can say about the PM shutdown? I never read any closure on the matter. PMDT members claimed no legal action was taken, but all signs point to something spooking them into shutting it down, despite the fact that we got an update on upcoming content a mere two weeks prior. So if they didn't receive any form of legal action against them, what happened?

VideoGameAttorney2 karma

Eeeeeeeeevery AMA gets this question. Eeeeeeeeevery time I say we've said all we're going to say :)

n0mn0m_de_Guerre2 karma

How does one become a Videogame Attorney?

VideoGameAttorney18 karma

You must master every materia in FF7, make the redhead fall in love with you in Harvest Moon, and not get annoyed by Preston in FO4.

zerograv02 karma

With the attorney general's offices in Tennessee and Alabama issuing opinions that DFS is illegal gambling, what does the future hold for DFS? Also, how do these opinions and other state opinions impact other games labeled as skill games?

VideoGameAttorney1 karma

We're going to get a federal gambling law soon I think. Not sure if it will allow gambling or ban it, but I imagine we see some central governing there soon.

MonsieurLeDrole2 karma

With more and more video games allowing the purchase of ingame currency (i.e. pay real money for smurfberries money), and with the ability to sell/trade ingame items on public markets, the line between video games and gambling is becoming blurred. Do you foresee any kind of government intervention to curb or limit in game currencies? Or any other kind of non-voluntary rules for game publishers working in this grey area?

VideoGameAttorney3 karma

Yup! Not on ingame purchases as they were. But the skin gambling websites have to go. Or they have to regulate much better.

Anopanda2 karma

are you expecting any exciting new types of lawsuits with VR becoming big?

VideoGameAttorney2 karma

They are definitely coming. I almost can't wait to see the causes of action!

RenegAIDS1 karma


VideoGameAttorney1 karma

Austin might be

ADHD_Supernova1 karma

What were your thoughts with Hillary Clinton joining forces with Jack Thompson to ban violent video games like the Grand Theft Auto games?

VideoGameAttorney7 karma

That would be a great television pilot. Hillary and Thompson running around trying to ban fun, while Bernie Sanders runs an underground super fun committee.

_davidvsgoliath1 karma

Is it legal to scrape sports data from a sports website like ESPN?

VideoGameAttorney1 karma

Their ToS should say what they allow

kylekemper1 karma

What do you think of The Social Wallet? Would you be interested in talking about this offline?

VideoGameAttorney2 karma

Don't know much about it, sorry.

dudeitzmeh1 karma

Hi. I'm a 1L student at a pretty big law school in Los Angeles, and also an avid gamer. I'm still new to everything, but do you know any places I should start looking at if I wanted to enter in your field?

VideoGameAttorney5 karma

Network your butt off! Entertainment law is as much about who you know as what you know, so make sure you are at GDC, and every other big industry event. Also try hard in school, of course, but law review is law review is law review. Shaking hands with me or some other insider at an event is how you stand out to us (as stupid as that may be).

arcanition1 karma

VideoGameAttorney, do you have any input as to the current situation regarding Blizzard's World of Warcraft and suing Nostalrius?

gentrifiedasshole3 karma


He says that private servers are completely illegal under current IP law, and that there's no recourse for Nostalrius.

VideoGameAttorney3 karma

Sadly, that's the truth.

LstrCk0 karma

Hello Mr. VideoGameLawyerDude,

I am currently studying audio at a creative college and for my major project I have joined a team to create a video game. There are 5 of us.

What are some of the little things that people may forget about when it comes to monetizing a game as a group of people?

This is our first foray into actually attempting to make money from our game and quite frankly our course is a little scarce on stuff like legal documents between coworkers (it rustles my jimmies that's for sure).

Where do we start?

Any info would be wonderful.

Love your work mate,


VideoGameAttorney1 karma

Always happy to help with this stuff, but won't be giving out much legal advice today. Give a look through my old post history, or feel free to ask next time I do an AMA in /r/gamedev. Sorry we're keeping the worlds separate today :)