The Litigation Hammer

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Why is being hated as a company bad for business?

Seriously, come on. Microsoft? EA? Activision? And just about any factory in the world that pays minimum wages? Hate doesn't hurt big companies. They THRIVE on hate.

Just you wait when MW3 comes out for 100 € with 5 mandantory DLCs 30 € each. Yeah, everyone will 'hate' (not to say boycott) Activision, but the game will break all the sale records in history.

Im happy not to be American...

Wanna sue me? Too bad! You could try, but wont get anything by trying! HAH!

Moral of the story:

Don't live in the US.

/prejudice.

Note to self, if successful in breaking into game development, do not sign with activision.

I'd buy a SimLawsuit game too. I've always wanted to be a total jackass to good people while suffering no reprocussions.

If I ended up on the receiving end of a frivolous lawsuit like that, I'd fight it to the last breath. Not because it's the smart thing to do, not because I thought I would win, but because society only starts correcting such things when someone raises a massive ruckus. It's the principle of the thing god dammit!

You can sue anyone, at any time, for any reason - as long as you've got the money.

It's pretty cynical, but it's true. Many lawsuits are not launched because the plaintiff thinks they can actually win. They are launched because the plaintiff thinks the defendant will go broke hiring lawyers defending themselves.

Except your former lawyer in an attempt to reduce the bill, apparently.

Kotick in general is the guy I associate with a lot of these Activision dick moves lately. He's a shrewd businessman whose tactics sour a lot of the fun behind my favorite hobby. He should really speak to EA about how damaging that is for a brand.

im so going to steal that simlawsuit idea, make a franchise out of it, and when i will have enough money, sue samus from any other idea he might think of, and become even richer, and there is nothing you can do to stop me (cue in evil laughter, perfecting the masterplan)

I just wonder, was it really worth it to try and steal, ummm Some guys name who plays paintball?

Not Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Pele, ect...

But a guy who plays paintball... is that that much money in paintball games?

I have to admit, I seen one played but... paintball I wanna play a FPS with a gun that is inaccurate past 4 meters. I play it in the real world and it's fun... but on a pc or console, I'd just play a real shooter.

Pugiron:
The reason stupid people in these situations do not forgo lawyers and defend themselves is that they are always told "You can't win." Well, you can't win if you do not try and sign a settlement. Defend yourself, drag it out as long as you can, and let the software company, or whoever, spend all they want on lawyers. If the Judge has any business sitting on the bench, he will protect you from just being double-talked to death and look at the merits of the case, rather than how handsome that lawyer they hired is. If you lose, what exactly did you lose that you were not going to lose already? The money they owe you? Go to legalzoom.com or a local lawyer and pay a flat rate to have them draw up a counter suit for you, then help the evil company spend even more money defending against it. For god's sake, convicts do this all the time, hundreds of suits a year, even. Eventually, the company might just pay you to go the hell away, or you might actually win, if you are not dumber than a convicted felon. Are you dumber than a convicted felon?

ah true but as the article says, laywers cost money, lots of money and the people working for you need to be paid.

thepi, my point was that you do not need a lawyer if you are going into the fight with nothing to lose.

Activision games...I'll be renting and buying their games used
well...that is until Bungie releases their next IP
OH MY GOD that's just devious...

I started boycotting Activision BEFORE it was cool. Yay for me!

But really, the only thing that's going to stop this is a major decline in sales of the 'Over-Hyped Shooter' series and the 'Fill your Living Room With Stupid Plastic Crap' franchise.

At this point anyone who does business with activision really only has themselves to blame. It isn't like anyone following the industry doesn't know about their shenanigans.

I look forward to a publisher-free future where all games come directly from developer to player. With digital downloads there is no need for devil deals to secure retail space. All a game needs to succeed is a demo and to be good.

You can sue anyone, at any time, for any reason - as long as you've got the money.

So are West and Zampella not relevant to this life-lesson you learned during the time when dot-com-ers thought themselves invincible, because I think they think they have just as much leverage in their favor as Activision has in theirs and either have the dough to go a few rounds or are cocksure enough to think they'll net a gain.

Why not just make massive fines for companies who are obviously suing on a case that would never win. Or better yet, if the little guy fights and wins, the losing company has to pay all their legal fees.

It has problems, but i am a teenager and i live in an ideal world!

"Keep telling new people about it. Keep making clear just how cancerous they are to the industry. Keep demanding better. An organized internet boycott / petition isn't usually very harmful to a publisher, but having a majority of your customers hate your freaking guts is bad for any business."

Already done. Numerous friends of mine arn't buying Black Ops because of the supposed charging money to play every month.

I think the systems for suing people in most countries are broken, might help if they fixed that first, could help.

It does also seem to be an issue of what culture you're from, there's less lawsuits in Britain than America, for instance and there's different rules about said lawsuits as well.

Just my thoughts here, though.

Sartan0:
This is a case where having a good lawyer review a contract before you sign it is worth avoiding the later (much higher) legal fees or worse losing your creations.

Ounce of prevention pound of cure situation. Educating new and small developers about this would help a great deal. As Shamus says: ( I am paraphrasing) this is the system we have. There are ways to make it work better for you.

You're missing the point. This isn't about them being screwed by a bad contract. This is when people have perfectly reasonable contracts, don't break them, and the big company sues them anyway. The big company should lose from a legal perspective, the only reason they don't is because they have so much money they can get the legal battle to drag on long enough for the small guys to go bankrupt.

That's a pretty big eye-opener for me... I never thought about it that way and it's a comparative disgrace that the judicial system has this glaring flaw yet cannot patch it up. We could always create new legislation prohibiting these sort of actions by big publishers.

Hexenwolf:

Sartan0:
This is a case where having a good lawyer review a contract before you sign it is worth avoiding the later (much higher) legal fees or worse losing your creations.

Ounce of prevention pound of cure situation. Educating new and small developers about this would help a great deal. As Shamus says: ( I am paraphrasing) this is the system we have. There are ways to make it work better for you.

You're missing the point. This isn't about them being screwed by a bad contract. This is when people have perfectly reasonable contracts, don't break them, and the big company sues them anyway. The big company should lose from a legal perspective, the only reason they don't is because they have so much money they can get the legal battle to drag on long enough for the small guys to go bankrupt.

That is a danger yes but some of this is not reading the contract. It makes it easier for the bigger company. Why make it easier for them? One possible solution is to get smaller companies to pool some of their resources to use when one of them is picked on.

Pugiron:
thepi, my point was that you do not need a lawyer if you are going into the fight with nothing to lose.

You mean like your house? Your family?

You have a *LOT* to prove to a judge if you want to act as your own attorney. Many judges simply will not allow it, and will declare a mistrial, before allowing you to tank your case and lose everything you own.

Sartan0:

Hexenwolf:

Sartan0:
This is a case where having a good lawyer review a contract before you sign it is worth avoiding the later (much higher) legal fees or worse losing your creations.

Ounce of prevention pound of cure situation. Educating new and small developers about this would help a great deal. As Shamus says: ( I am paraphrasing) this is the system we have. There are ways to make it work better for you.

You're missing the point. This isn't about them being screwed by a bad contract. This is when people have perfectly reasonable contracts, don't break them, and the big company sues them anyway. The big company should lose from a legal perspective, the only reason they don't is because they have so much money they can get the legal battle to drag on long enough for the small guys to go bankrupt.

That is a danger yes but some of this is not reading the contract. It makes it easier for the bigger company. Why make it easier for them? One possible solution is to get smaller companies to pool some of their resources to use when one of them is picked on.

So, do you REALLY think that these companies don't have lawyers reviewing contracts before they sign? Respawn (nee IW) is certainly going to review their future contracts, but I *guarantee* that they will encounter the same type of dispute. The issue is that the contracts were read, deemed fair, and adhered to. Then the companies were railroaded by lawyers who make more in a month than they make in a year.

Hopeless Bastard:

Shamus Young:
I wasn't saying that the system couldn't be improved or that we should just accept it, I was more warning against the kind of kneejerk changes people want to make when they hear stories like this.

"Oh they should just make it so that big companies have to pay some crazy tax if they want to sue a little company."

Stuff like that. I guess I shouldn't have said you "couldn't" fix it, just that it's harder than it seems at first glance.

Well, a simple fix would be to place a soft cap on what corporations can spend in legal fees to sue other corporations. Say, ASSHOLE inc. can't spend more than 25% of VICTIM llc.'s net worth in legal fees. Something like this premise exists somewhere else, I just can't remember where, so its not a completely new precedent. Then any attempt to circumvent this cap is already a crime (faux pro bono, falsified billings, etc), meaning it would be an incredibly simple matter to expose once the case goes to trial, and every lawyer involved would be close to instantly disbarred.

But, of course, that brings us to a way the system is actually corrupt. There is no way in hell such a law would ever get passed. Literally every law firm in existence would suspend all other operations to fight in every way possible anything resembling a cap on allowable legal spending. Any and every remaining private land containing one or more trees would be clear-cut (at the owner's profit) and all the old paper mills would have to be reopened just to keep up with the amount of shit that would be filed. The whole of washington DC would be buried under an ocean of paper. Not even mentioning lobbyists.

So you're saying that a company can't defend his IP as well as he could? That will only make small company copy IPs so much that the big one can't sue the small one on all the IPs that got stolen. That would be a lot worse than what we have right now.

RvLeshrac:
<Mega Snip>
So, do you REALLY think that these companies don't have lawyers reviewing contracts before they sign? Respawn (nee IW) is certainly going to review their future contracts, but I *guarantee* that they will encounter the same type of dispute. The issue is that the contracts were read, deemed fair, and adhered to. Then the companies were railroaded by lawyers who make more in a month than they make in a year.

In some cases yes. Where is your evidence that it never happens? As I suggested in my other comment it is time for other legal solutions and possibly forming some kind of pooled fund to combat baseless claims. The situation could be improved through the actions of all the players involved. I do, on the other hand, realize that small developers are just trying to make games. So likely it would take someone making it there mission to set something up.

Sartan0:

RvLeshrac:
<Mega Snip>
So, do you REALLY think that these companies don't have lawyers reviewing contracts before they sign? Respawn (nee IW) is certainly going to review their future contracts, but I *guarantee* that they will encounter the same type of dispute. The issue is that the contracts were read, deemed fair, and adhered to. Then the companies were railroaded by lawyers who make more in a month than they make in a year.

In some cases yes. Where is your evidence that it never happens? As I suggested in my other comment it is time for other legal solutions and possibly forming some kind of pooled fund to combat baseless claims. The situation could be improved through the actions of all the players involved. I do, on the other hand, realize that small developers are just trying to make games. So likely it would take someone making it there mission to set something up.

1) It does happen. It happens less often than you think. Additionally, the claims aren't "baseless," or they'd be thrown out as soon as a judge saw them. The basis, however, is usually technical, not actual, breach.

2) This has already been offered to game developers and other IT workers, many times, in the last 40 years. The majority keeps saying that they don't want unionisation, however, so benefits like collective bargaining and collective legal defence are out of the question.

now i know why fat ppl sue McDonald for getting fat. why coffee drinkers sue Starbucks for having hot coffee. why smokers sue Marlboro for getting cancer. Its just ezier/cheaper to pay them off than to take them to court! XD

Guess it works the other way around too!

AvsJoe:
Such is life. I'm boycotting Activision right now but I doubt it's making much difference (the last game of theirs I bought was THUG and the last new game was True Crime: Streets of LA).

I think I'll join you. I'm not sure why I never heard of all this Activision stuff beforehand; I guess I need to start paying attention more.

Anyway, that makes two companies I'm boycotting; Activision and Ubisoft.

So the knee-jerk reaction is to punish the rich companies for doing this or put a cap on how much they can spend; why? If the problem is one side outspending the other than put into place a system that means neither side have to pay anything.

In civil matters such as this the court appoints two attorneys to represent each side. The loser pays damages and the costs of both attorneys. Now if one side has a lot of money they can hire an extra team of lawyers and even have them represent them in court, but they won't get the money directly back and the other side need not spend anything

Is that too simple?

This is why independent gaming needs to rise. If ShootGuy could have been published without sitting at the signing table with Kotick and his spawn, then there would be no legal battle left for them to fight. We can't lose if we don't play.

It would also be nice to have some lawyers that are committed against being evil (pipe dream, I know.) A lot of great pro bono work could go towards defending independent developers from exploitation like this, even if it lacks the same PR-hype as defending a homeless shelter or whatever.

Mysnomer:

oranger:
And of course, the moral of the story: do your damn research before signing a contract.
And have contingencies.

edit: a flood is coming, and the animals are running. A frog comes to a riverbank, and sees a scorpion unable to cross the river. The frog gallantly swims the arachnid across, after which the scorpion stings him.
Dying, the frog asks why, to which the scorpion says, "you know what I am".

Except in this case, it's more like the scorpion carves out the frogs guts and wears his skin, allowing him to continue swimming across the river unimpeded.

An excellent analogy.

Don't just boycott Activision. Boycott the Vivendi/Sierra/Activision/Blizzard company. Don't let Blizzard and Sierra and Vivendi slyly get the other part of the giant company to do all the dirty work and to make a bad name for itself while the other parts of the company get to pretend they're clean. Boycott World of Warcraft. Boycott everything made by the giant company (which is a lot bigger than just Activision).

It's the only way they'll feel any real pressure to clean up their act.

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