Cyberpunk 2077: Intellectual Property Rights Management in an Enterprise (webinar recording)

It has been 11 days already since the biggest video game release of the year – Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, at LegalPlay we as well are playing the CD Projekt RED’s new release and after 30 hours of playing we can tell that the Night City has totally immersed us.

Three days before the release day (on the December 7th), we were invited by the Intellectual Property Student Association „IP” at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw (www | fb), to participate as LegalPlay in an incredibly interesting event, as well as to support its organisation.

The event was titled „Intellectual property rights management in an enterprise on the example of the game Cyberpunk 2077”. During the event, representatives of the Center for Commercial Legal Studies, Queen Mary University of London has given an extremely interesting presentation, which pointed out the vastness of intellectual property issues connected with creating and managing such a big video game and brand. After the presentation, there was a short Q&A. The event was moderated by the author of this words – Jakub Zalewski, an Associate at LegalPlay.

There were over 200 participants during the webinar! If you missed it, do not worry! The recording is already available below:

Link to the video:

In the event took part:

Dr Gaetano Dimita – Senior Lecturer in International Intellectual Property Law at the Queen Mary University of London and a video games enthusiast. He is also the Director of the Institute for Interactive Entertainment Law and Policy, the editor-in-chief of the Interactive Entertainment Law Review, and the organiser of the ‘More Than Just a Game’ conference series. The last one of these conferences before the coronavirus was organised here in Warsaw, Poland!

Dr Michaela MacDonald – Lecturer at the Queen Mary University of London. Her main research interests focus on the legal, regulatory and societal effects of disruptive technologies. She also works at Moorcrofts LLP as a consultant in a project researching the development of a legal contract management system that uses Artificial Intelligence.

Rafał Kłoczko – Chief Counsel Business, IP and Privacy w CD Projekt RED. His day-to-day job is to make sure that the laws do not get in the way of creativity in the process of developing CD Projekt RED’s video games.

Alexandros Alexandrou – PhD student at Queen Mary University of London. His research thesis is entitled „The Interactive Entertainment Industry and Successive Creativity: Remastering Copyright for Video Games and Successive Works”. He was also named Best Oralist during the Legal Challenge at the Games Industry Law Summit in Vilnius in 2019.

Michael Dunford – PhD student at Queen Mary University of London. His research thesis is titled „The Fanworks Problem After Twenty Years: A Critical Re-Assessment”. His studies focus on the role and impact of copyright law on fandoms and other interest-based communities.

Salvatore Fasciana – PhD student at Queen Mary University of London. His research thesis is entitled “The Implementation of Gamers’ Bill of Rights Within the Current Interactive Entertainment Industry”, where he will attempt to draft a bill of rights for gamers with each right representing one of main challenges within the interactive entertainment industry.


We would like to thank the IP Student Association for inviting us and letting us support the event and to thank guests from Queen Mary University of London and CD Projekt RED for sharing their knowledge and experience with webinar participants.

European Games BizDev Gathering or how to do business development in time of pandemic

It is obvious to say that the current coronavirus pandemic affects us all. However, in a case of video games industry, the impact of the virus is not only negative. As it turns out, in a time when millions are forced to stay at home, the interest in games has greatly increased. It influenced the growth of sales of games and consoles that can be best observed by looking at the debut of the newest instalment in Animal Crossing series on Nintendo Switch.

As every other industry, gamedev also faces problems now. The industry is affected by issues such as delays in hardware production or a sudden necessity for everyone to adjust to working from home, which in some cases may lead to postponing the release dates of long-awaited titles. Bigger and smaller gamedev studios were also affected by cancelled trade shows and conferences, which not only forced publishers to change their marketing plans but most importantly, made harder for developers to meet their potential publishers and investors.

European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) decided to respond to the last of these problems. For this purpose EGDF, along with rcp and Reboot, is organising the European Games BizDev Gathering – two-day online event enabling game creators to meet with publishers and investors, make new acquaintances in the industry and to showcase their ideas for games. In current circumstances, it seems like the best way to show your project and to get financial support for its production.

The event is open for every developer from Europe and for publishers and investors from all over the world. Organisers boast that over 300 entities have already declared their participation, including biggest players on the markets, such as for example Ubisoft, Wargaming or Paradox Interactive. There are also Polish publishers among the participants, such as 11 bit studios, HUUUGE Games or All in! Games.

European Games BizDev Gathering takes place from 13th  to 14th May 2020.
The participance in the event costs 35 EUR.
More details and the registration can be found on the event’s website:

We encourage you to participate! There’s still some time left to prepare the ideal pitch. Who knows, maybe during the event you will manage to meet your future publisher or investor? If yes, then we encourage you to contact us – we will help you to negotiate the terms of and formalize your relation.

Coming to Steam: second-hand game sales? A few words on the Valve ruling in France

A few days ago the European gaming community was electrified with a news story from France. On 17 September a French court issued a ruling, referred to as „monumental” or „landmark” by some commentators (including the plaintiff), in the case of a French consumer protection association UFC-Que Choisir brought against Valve, the operator of Steam.

According to the ruling, issued after almost 3 years of proceedings, the court stated that Steam is not allowed to prohibit its users, in their Terms and Conditions, from selling their digitally purchased games. In the court’s opinion, the reselling of digital entertainment licenses is not prohibited on any legal grounds. Therefore, it should be allowed, just as it is the case with physical copies of video games, due to the fact that “the author no longer has control over subsequent resales” once they’ve exhausted their right to the material by authorizing the initial sale.

The consequences of this ruling could potentially be significant for the whole digital video game retail market and expand from the French jurisdiction to the whole Europe, provided, of course, that the ruling is upheld by the court of appeal. Steam and other operators would have to remodel the functionalities of their platforms (not to mention their business models) to allow the players to rescind ownership of their digital licence and transfer it to the buyer.

But the impact and potential legal problems could be much more significant than that. Take for example skins, personalised weapons or armour and other in-game purchases or loot acquired from loot boxes. Would those items expire or get transferred to the buyer along with the game? If so, would the seller be entitled to claim a higher price for the extra content in the game? And if they would, how would that affect the legal qualification of loot boxes in various European jurisdictions, when they would gain monetary value?

The gamers’ community on Reddit (r/Games) quickly identified other possible consequences of adopting that approach:

  • move to subscription based models;
  • no more free content updates;
  • shutting down servers of re-sellable games;
  • no more seasonal sales or discounts, instead – frequent and steady price reductions;
  • fewer offline games and general increase in gameplay time;
  • EU becoming a separate market (like China), possibly some games not being available in the EU.

The experts agree, however, that it is much too soon to count your chickens and start pricing your virtual shelf. There is going to be an appeal, which may very well overturn the ruling. The idea of exhaustion of the publisher’s rights in the digital context (which would prevent the publisher from interfering with second-hand dealing with digital content and, therefore, allow players to re-sell their digital games) has been widely discussed for years, including, in particular, in the case of Oracle v UsedSoft (2012), where it was stated that the exhaustion takes place in relation to software. However, as video games are – quite obviously– much more than just software, the interpretation of the UFC-Que Choisir v Valve case may vary, especially because, to an extent, different laws will be taken into account.

The actual, not hypothetical, impact of the French court ruling remains to be seen. Some argue that in the ever-evolving digital entertainment market, seeing constant changes in the content consumption models, the core question of digital exhaustion may soon become irrelevant. Maybe in a few years, maybe even before the case is finally resolved, the actual possession of a copy of a game will be obsolete, due to common use of streaming? The law hardly ever keeps up the pace of technology, so this is, indeed, very probable. We must wait and see for ourselves.