This past weekend Suzanne Jackiw and I participated in a video game law panel at the Ohio Game Developers Expo. We were joined by Andrew Trafford, of Porter Wright LLP, and Chris Volpe, of Multivarious Games. Together we discussed a wide spectrum of legal issues in games. Business planning, capital raising, trademark, trade dress, patent, copyright, constitutional law, and the right of publicity were all covered in brief and at the speed of 100mph.
Talking fast left a lot of time for audience questions and that was probably the best part of our presentation. We were truly blessed to have an engaged and enthusiastic audience. They put our knowledge to the test and let us know what legal issues are most important to people making and playing games. It was amazing how many people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds were at OGDE. Artists, musicians, programmers, and even engineers traveled to Columbus to share their appreciation of video games and play a game of “stump the law students” with us.
OGDE was a very unique experience. I’ve been to many conventions and expos but I’ve never experienced the same sense of belonging and community I felt this weekend in Columbus. Speakers and attendees stuck around to hang out after hours and get to know each other rather than bolting for their hotel beds. There was a midnight screening of The King of Arcades at Studio 35 hosted by Walter Day. There were games to be played (and many things to drink) at the local barcade 16 Bit. There was even a late night shindig at (secret) Arcade Super Awesome.
Whatever the venue, the scene was the same. Men and women from different backgrounds, home towns, and life paths were embracing their similarities and transcending their differences. It was no small feat to be sure and it brought a smile to my face. With all the dissent and controversy that has permeated gamer culture lately it’s reassuring to know that those differences could be trumped by what created this community in the first place: a devout shared love for games.
Special thanks to Chris Volpe, Andrew Trafford, Mike Geig, Walter Day, and of course my esteemed colleague Suzanne Jackiw.