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Daniel Gary Rosenthal

Daniel Rosenthal’s Answers

853 total

  • What defines consideration, reward in reference to a private club who provided members the ability to play games chance

    I own a bar and I have heard of hold em in bars to build business. I was under the impression that games of chance constituted gambling and wanted to see if this was illegal or the grey area of the law. What would stop a bar from having a roulett...

    Daniel’s Answer

    Consideration in this context means "a thing of value." This could be cash; it could be a valuable prize; it could be a token that's freely convertible to cash or prizes; it could be free food or beer.

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  • I'm involved with a startup developing a set of services for online computer games.

    What our services allow is for players to enter tournaments by paying an entrance fee and competing for a prize. The problem however arises that we allow our clients to play computer games that we do not own the IP rights to such as League of lege...

    Daniel’s Answer

    Yes, you should seek a consulation. I've advised clients on similar matters and there are certainly similar types of operations out there. Fundamentally what you're talking is not very different from a traditional LAN party contests, but done online and with software support. The key will be to structure this so as to ensure compliance with relevant state and federal laws. Primarily this will mean monitoring carefully what games are eligible to ensure that the competition remains skill based. You may also need to limit the states in which you offer the service, based on how they interpret games that contain both skill and chance based elements. State contest laws will also apply, in what kinds of prizes, how the entrance fee is collected, registration requirements, rules, etc. There may be additional quirks involved depending on exactly how your software works. Of course, you'll also want standard business counsel that every startup needs. So yes, I'd recommend speaking with a gaming attorney who has experience in both the games industry in general and these kinds of contest schemes in particular.

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  • Pre-ordered digital service/video game addition, then subsequently banned/restricted use of service before release. Recoupable?

    I pre-ordered a digital service/game addition, then was subsequently banned/restricted use of the service before the digital service/game addition's release; am I able to recoup the payment via small claims court if the company refuses to issue a ...

    Daniel’s Answer

    You need to be more clear, and more specific rather than using broad terms like "digital service".

    If you're referring to having bought DLC on pre-order, and subsequently have been banned from the game before release of said DLC, you're probably out of luck, practically speaking. You might be able to seek a refund through arbitration, but your terms of service may explicitly prevent this. And I doubt that, should this ever come to litigation, you'd be able to overcome the fact that you were banned for what presumably is a violation of the terms of service -- something entirely within your control. (And please don't play the "I wasn't told the actual reasons" card. I've worked in the games industry for years. No publisher or developer will knowingly ban a paying customer and deny themselves that portion of an income stream for literally no reason at all. There's always a reason, and people always play dumb as to what it is. )

    As for a class action, no. No judge is going to certify this class, and no attorney is going to take this case. The economics are not there, and the merits are not there.

    Your best bet is to seek a refund directly. If you bought this through Steam, or the Xbox store, or something like that, you might be able to convince them to give you a refund off the pre-order, if it's not yet released. It's probably within their discretion to do so. Otherwise, well, consider it a lesson learned about playing nicely with others.

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  • Can I demand a refund for having my in-game items reset?

    I have played on a Minecraft server since September 12, 2013. Since then, I have spent a total of $120 on the server website in exchange for in-game money and items. As of March 1, 2015, the server completely reset unannounced. All players' (mine ...

    Daniel’s Answer

    You've asked a number of questions here.

    1) Is it stealing? -- No. You paid for and received a service. This is not "stealing" or "theft" by any legal definition.

    2) Am I entitled to a full refund? -- No. Unless the terms of service for that particular server specifically state that you are entitled to them indefinitely, or for a period of time outlasting the reset, you're out of luck. This is the risk you take when you purchase microtransactions, in-app purchases, or other similar types of payments specific to a game. Look at it another way -- would you expect a refund when Minecraft ceases to be supported by Mojang? Would you expect this server to be paid for and maintained until the end of time? Of course not.

    I see this question pop up all the time involving Minecraft, or the pay2win browser-MMO of the week. The answer is always the same: don't purchase anything you're not prepared to lose.

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  • Can you require sweepstakes winners to do something that's NOT a purchase?

    AFTER a winner has already been selected, can you reach out and say: "Hey Congratulations, you won! In order to claim you award, please post on Facebook that you won"

    Daniel’s Answer

    The question itself is a bit too broad to generally answer with a blanket "Yes" or "No." It will depend on what the condition is, and at what time the condition attaches. For instance, if your requirement is a condition precedent to winning, then you don't actually have any winner until a contestant both completes the sweepstakes AND fulfills the condition -- which may be required to be outlined in advance in the sweepstakes and can be subject to restrictions. On the other hand, if the point is to have a winner, and then require them to perform some further action, there's a very real risk that a winner will challenge that they have a legal duty to perform that condition. Or put another way, if someone wins the sweepstakes, is declared a winner, but then refuses (or is unable) to post on Facebook, what do you think will happen if you try to deny them the winnings? They will immediately sue you, and it's going to be expensive on top of the actual winnings owed.

    You will be best served in the long run by having an gaming attorney review your sweepstakes, help draft your rules, terms and conditions, and to review your language used on social media and other advertising outlets to make sure it doesn't conflict. It's always a good idea to have an independent attorney involved in a sweepstakes matter anyway, as (aside from the risks of potentially huge fines and/or prison time if you screw things up) it gives you a further layer of security and legitimacy to your sweepstakes. Contestants, regulatory agencies, and insurance companies all will greatly appreciate that.

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  • Would it be copyright infringement to sell this open source game?

    There is a game posted online for free with the source code. It says the following: "This source code is free for all to use and learn from. Modifications to it may be distributed freely, so long as the creators of any part of i...

    Daniel’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There's a couple things at issue here, and I think it's premature to state with certainty that you would not be able to monetize this game.

    First, let's dispense with one thing. The game IS copyrighted, regardless of whether it states it or not. The question is whether the game is released under a free license. Open Source has a broader meaning than just "source code is available", and some kinds of open source licenses (such as the GFDL and certain Creative Commons licenses) allow for monetization. In this case, we'd need to know what else is stated as a license beyond the paragraph you linked above (which refers only to the source code, not to the object code or machine executable code, which may receive differing treatment under U.S. laws.) Frankly, if that paragraph is their only disclaimer, it's pretty terribly written.

    The point is, this is not actually a cut and dry scenario. I've worked pretty extensively in the field of open source licensing, as well as games industry monetization, and would be happy to discuss some of the scenarios here directly. You can reach me via the "Contact this Lawyer" option on Avvo, or clicking through to my profile.

    Best of luck.

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  • Their's a game call warface on xbox 360 is free but you buy in game add-ons spend 80 dlls but they are closing.

    All players buy and spend money I like 80 dlls.and they are goin to take all my the ingame addon I buy and every one that play just like that.. can I sue them for not saying it was temporary. . And taking my stuff

    Daniel’s Answer

    No. You got to enjoy the DLCs for the lifetime of the game. The publisher is not required to support the game forever, and the DLCs are licensed to you -- legally, they are not "your stuff. Not to mention suing is unrealistic -- if you are going to sue over $80 in DLCs, how are you going to afford my $250/hr (industry-standard in the games industry) rate?

    Just man up and accept that the game is coming to an end, and consider not purchasing DLC in the future if you can't afford the temporary pleasure.

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  • Is online betting site legal?

    This is not against an entity (which i know is illegal) but against an individual. If I have a platform for different people to come and bet against a each other over football matches and such. And I as a platform charge them a commission.

    Daniel’s Answer

    Online sports gambling of the type that you are describing is illegal. People can and have been prosecuted for it. If you are serious about doing this, you need to be asking these questions directly with a gaming law attorney familiar with online gaming/gambling. You need to pay them a retainer, and get formal legal counsel on this. Anything less is simply taking risks with your life -- spending several years in a federal prison and hundreds of thousands in potential fines.

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  • I was wrongly banned on a game that i spent nearly 2000 dollars on in 4 years, can i sue?

    I was on this game called imvu for 4 years i spend probably over 2000 dollars. A person that hates me on the game that i blocked to keep away from went to a reseller for in game income gifting it to me then canceled it getting her money back. they...

    Daniel’s Answer

    No. You clearly got banned for violations of the game's terms of service. You clearly are involved in some kind of chargeback drama with a third party RMT sales entity. You don't have any cause of action here that I can see. And if you spent 2000 dollars on the site, but can't afford the $10 now, yet somehow think you can afford the $250/hr an attorney is going to cost you for an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit -- not to mention the stress involved from suing someone -- you need to re-evaluate some things in your life.

    Incidentally IMVU is a terrible game. I'd recommend finding something better.

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  • It is legal to use quotes by famous people in a mobile video game?

    Hello, I am a mobile video game designer and I am currently in the process of producing a game. The game itself is free, but there are optional in-game purchases. I would like to use quotes as the text on loading screens in between scenes, for exa...

    Daniel’s Answer

    As has been discussed many times before on Avvo, quotes are generally OK to use, in the manner of say a Civilization loading screen. Longer quote uses, or uses of modern, commercial lyrics as quotes, may be more problematic and prompt an infringement claim. You should be consulting with a game industry attorney on this process as part of the overall legal review of your game. My firm provides this kind of service, and I'd be happy to discuss further.

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