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Summit – Agenda 1.0

It's less than three weeks until the semifinals and the finals of the Games Industry Legal Challenge
Games Industry Law Summit
Summit – Agenda 1.0
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #45 • View online
It’s less than three weeks until the semifinals and the finals of the Games Industry Legal Challenge 2019 play out at the Grand Hotel Kempinski in Vilnius Old Town, while in the evening of the same day the Reception Dinner of the Summit is set to happen at the hotel’s Telegrafas restaurant.
Let’s do a quick rundown of the event’s key points, as well as look at some of the news from the last week!

Agenda 1.0 is DONE!
As it happens every year, the agenda went through a period of Early Access with certain topics falling off the wagon in the process.
I really wanted to talk about Hiring for Legal Teams – but that’s pushed back to 2020, when we may finally have a parallel track (or choose this topic for the pre-Summit work group).
Another theme that would’ve been a bold step forward is Mental Health under Stress. Depending on how hard you work (or how high are your particular stress peaks, even if your overall stress level is moderate), you may find this theme to be quite relevant.
Open Source went up in smoke – literally. Earlier this year, I found myself on a rooftop terrace of a law firm over in Germany, sharing a coffee with my lawyer friends (and tolerating their Marlboros). The conversation covered litigation based on open source issues, which seemed like an exciting topic.
However, the specific lawyers that litigated those cases do not generally work with the games industry – and we couldn’t find anyone to present this theme at the Summit in a way that would be relevant to the audience.
Audit in Games Industry is a topic that I can personally relate to, having performed three different audits back in the days when I ran a publishing label. Pretty much every in-house counsel was excited about having such a panel, however nobody wanted to present. I reached out to a few friends who are, I believe, the best auditors that I know of – but they were reluctant to travel just for one panel, in an industry that’s not usually their main client. Can we make this topic happen in 2020? That depends on you, guys. Let’s chat about it when we see each other in Vilnius!
Finally, while you’ll find cookies in your attendee box, Cookies as the topic of a technical presentation (what are cookies, really – and how does the actual software method used by web designers correspond to the legalese that lawyers then generate to support it?) is not on the agenda due to time constraints.
Overall, this year we have 26 panels & presentations across 2 days of the event, and the final agenda (drum roll!) is available HERE. If you’re one of the speakers or panelists, I’ll be chasing you for your slides in the next couple of weeks. Also, any feedback and suggestions are welcome – after all, we still have 19 days to go!
In-house, Law Firms, Industry
We’re at 192 attendees from 33 countries in 2019, which is really pushing the limit. We’ll have to stay smaller in 2020 – or we’ll have to change the venue (which I’m not sure I can live through).
Here’s how the profile of the attendees is split this year:
As always, it’s a tough call when it comes to processing new people. Here, I fall back on the “dinner test”: would a random attendee X enjoy a dinner in the company of a random attendee Y?
In most cases, yes, they would: two in-house counsels who work at games studios have their notes on law firms to compare, while actively practicing law firm lawyers are a treasure trove of industry insights.
Sometimes it’s more challenging, though: from time to time we get really weird emails from potential attendees, and sometimes when we ask for games industry credentials from the law firms that approach us, we never hear back (so it’s good that we asked!).
There’s also a particular issue of making the event more accessible to the younger in-house counsels who are just getting started. While they may not hold much value (yet) as one’s dinner companions, we must make an effort to be more inclusive in order to accelerate their integration into the international legal community of our industry.
Formal Dinner is Important
As a reminder, we ask everyone to dress formally (i.e. jackets and dresses) for the Formal Dinner on May 2.
As I worked on the agenda, it dawned on me that because of the formal nature of this dinner, we have to reserve a whole hour between when the last session ends and when the dinner begins – so that folks could walk back to their not-Kempinski hotels, jump into the shower, then change and come back.
And if you don’t need the whole hour, we’ll have an open bar set up for you (complimentary, as always) – right after Deathmatch 2.0 wraps up.
Formal Dinner is Very Important
As a part of the Formal Dinner’s setup, we’ll have candles lit up on each of the 30 tables. And if you know us… you know that we didn’t go to IKEA for those candles =).
We wanted the real thing, and so we asked one of the small family producers of honey here in Lithuania if they can produce 60 beeswax candles for our event, that would fit the candleholders at the Kempinski. The result is on the photo above, and we love everything about these candles: the way they burn, the way they look and the way they smell. This is how candles are supposed to be, if you ask me.
Your Photo on the Web
When we worked on the Participants page of the Summit’s web site, we made our best effort to use the latest photographs from your LinkedIn profiles. However, sometimes things changed since we grabbed those, or some attendees had a better idea of what they wanted to see published on the web site.
Because for the whole year after the Summit we’ll have people going to the web site to remember “that lawyer from Poland” and “that counsel from a mobile games company” to reconnect on some specific issue, I urge you to please check out your own photo on the website and to please let me/Alma know if you want it changed. We’re absolutely happy to update any assets there, just send us an email!
As a part of your registration package, you get pick-up and drop-off service at the airport (or train station). It is essential that we know your flight numbers ahead, so that we can schedule the cars. If you haven’t sent your flight details to Alma, please do so ASAP or at least connect her to your PA to follow this up. On the organisational side, we’re looking at three mad week ahead, and the earlier you send us your details, the less sleep we’ll lose over the coming days. Thanks very much.
If you haven’t read my emails about the dinner: unless you’ve indicated a specific preference for fish or meat, we’ve been marked as a vegetarian as far as Kempinski’s kitchen is concerned. While a lot of people are, in fact, vegetarian this year (35% of those who responded), we do have about 40 attendees who did not respond neither to my email nor to Alma’s reminders. If you’re one of those… – I hope you like chickpeas, aubergines and carrots, because this is what you’re getting!
Tsiakkas Commandaria from Chrysostomides
If you remember, a few months ago we decided to introduce you to the wine that is amongst the oldest produced in the world – Commandaria, native to Cyprus. Along with grappa, it will be served as a digestif during the Formal Dinner.
For advice on which particular producer to choose, we approached Yiannis Karamanolis and Alexandros Georgiades at Chrysostomides, who attend the Summit for the first time this year and will introduce Cyprus as a part of the regional updates section.
After some consideration, they recommended Tsiakkas
But the team at Chrysostomides did not stop at just a recommendation: they insisted that, moreover, they also pick up the bill for the whole box that we ordered – as a little present to everyone at the event. So if you will enjoy this amazing digestif at the Formal Dinner… you know whom to send your thanks to!
Queen Mary Team 1 Qualifies (CY/BE/FR)
Following an extra round in order to resolve the tie for the 4th place at the Legal Challenge, Queen Mary University’s Team 1 qualified to the semifinals (prevailing over the team Polish Gamers by a ratio of 4:2 in the grading). This transports Alexandros Alexandrou (CY), Jan-Laurens Dierickx (BE) and Swann Carl Francis Willig (FR) straight into the semifinals, with the oral pleadings starting early in the morning of May 1.
EU Competition
#EUAntitrust We've sent Statements of Objections to Valve and 5 videogame publishers on #geoblocking Our preliminary view is that they prevented consumers from purchasing PC #videogames cross-border from other EU countries:
Seeing an official EU body tweet its decisions while using a hashtag #videogames makes me wonder if their communications person may have attended a seminar in the ‘90s that dealt with “discovery by hashtags”. I mean, who in their right mind would want to read about European Commission’s decisions by clicking on such a hashtag in the feed, one wonders?
Nevertheless, it is what it is, and the names of Valve, Focus Home, Koch Media, ZeniMax, Capcom and Namco Bandai have been painted red. We briefly considered putting the four of these companies that attend this year’s Summit on the same table during the Formal Dinner and preventing other attendees from accessing it (“blocking”, to be precise), but then gave up on the idea after reading Valve’s very well-timed response, issued on the same day (here).
A List of Epic Games Store Exclusives
Yet another "we're sorry to be made idiots" message from Steam (Anno 1800)
Yet another "we're sorry to be made idiots" message from Steam (Anno 1800)
Thanks to @Morwull, we now have a current list of all the games that have publicly confirmed their exclusivity deals with the Epic Games Store: HERE.
As to Steam users, their reaction is pretty predictable –
Valve Mutes 4,000+ User Reviews
Steam Database
Borderlands 2 is the first game on Steam to make use of the "off-topic reviews" marking. Over 4000 reviews are excluded from the rating calculation.
When 2K announced that Borderlands 3 is going to be exclusive with Epic Games Store for a while, Steam users expressed their feelings the only way that matters to the publisher: through posting massive amounts of negative user reviews.
This time, however, Valve already had an ace up their sleeve: a brand-new human-curated process (yes, you read that right: a human-curated process at a company that doesn’t believe in human-curated processes!) that can exclude thousands of user reviews from affecting product’s overall score, because such activity qualifies as a “review bomb”.
That a user review that simply says “MERDE” is seen by Valve as a valuable addition to the discourse, but a review that lists detailed pros and cons of a product is seen as useless just because it was posted at the wrong time, is a joke, and I expect the policy to eventually fail.
On the other hand, this teaches Western users to be more like the hardcore Chinese users, who know how to circumvent the automated systems. Why provoke the wrath of a moderator by posting a negative review, when you can say what you want and still fly under the radar, because your review seems to be positive?
Anaconda in the Chandelier
The second-to-last story of today’s newsletter brings to you an important industry term: “anaconda in the chandelier” –
“There’s no doubt that China’s online gaming market is very lucrative. But as our research demonstrates, there are unique challenges for companies operating in such a restricted environment,” says researcher Lotus Ruan. “It’s like the anaconda: hanging over them even when they are only making entertainment products that have very little political intent.”
If you have the time to read a brief report titled “Keyword Censorship in Chinese Mobile Games”, you’ll grasp the meaning: it implies self-censorship resulting from decentralised oversight, pretty much like what Russia already has in regard to its media.
Germany's Computerspielpreis is bad... really.
Youporn bei Politikern. Confirmed 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Germany’s “Computer Game Prize” of 2019 has been getting a lot of criticism from my developer friends, and rightfully so: with a peak of only 200 viewers (that’s right, two hundred viewers!) and a bunch of politicians trying to land-grab the topic, it was not only a waste of resources, but also an illustration of how far the organisers are form understanding our industry as well as our user base. This thread summarises the main points. Here’s hoping that things change in 2020!
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Sergei Klimov

A newsletter about games industry's legal side, written for the benefit and entertainment of the folks attending (or considering to attend) the annual Games Industry Law Summit in Vilnius.

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