Game Studies

While the majority of my research concerns intellectual property law and new technologies, I also contribute to the emerging discipline of game studies, particularly the intersection of law and video games.  Game studies scholars are interested in play, games, and entertainment software as a new form of media.

The following pieces are related to my game studies research:

The Player-Authors Project
NSF Grant #1250774: A Legal and Structural Investigation of Online User-Generated Content Systems

A NSF-funded investigation and report describing how copyright law is implicated by and shapes user-generated content within online games and other UGC platforms.

Feature Contributions to Gamasutra:
(Gamasutra is the online version of Game Developer Magazine)

Copyright Law and Video Games: A Brief History of an Interactive Medium
in SAGE Handbook of Intellectual Property (forthcoming 2014)

A history of copyright law in video games.

Legal Issues in Online Games
in International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (forthcoming 2014)

An encyclopedia entry surveying legal issues in online games, including: 1) the state’s ability to limit the distribution of online games to minors, 2) the intersection of intellectual property law and online games, and 3) the laws that set the rules for public access to, and permissible actions within, online games.

Game State (with Constance Steinkuehler)
in The Gameful World (forthcoming MIT Press 2014)

An essay on the applicability of gamification to government. (Related ideas here. Info will be posted here.)

Minecraft as Web 2.0: Amateur Creativity and Digital Games (2012)
in Amateur Media: Social, cultural and legal perspectives

This book chapter considers how the digital game Minecraft has both enabled and benefited from various Web 2.0 practices. I begin with an explanation of the concept of Web 2.0 and then consider how that concept applies to the space of digital games.

Rules of Play
4 Games & Culture 379 (2009)

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) constitute social jurisdictions governed by rules of play. When we consider the work of Johan Huizinga and subsequent theorists of human play activities, we find that ludic rules differ from legal rules in important ways. The goals of play also differ from the goals of law. In applying law to MMORPGs and other virtual worlds, it is important to recognize that jurisdictions of play are structured in ways that are fundamentally different from the ways traditional legal rules are structured.

The Planes of Power: Everquest as Text, Game, & Community
9 Game Studies (2009)

This article describes EverQuest as a fictive text, a computer game, and an online community and explains how these three distinct frameworks lead to different legal regulatory modalities. In combining elements of fiction, game, and community in an integrated framework, EverQuest challenges a prospective legal regulator to weigh policy considerations in determining how best to respond to an object and social practice that entails the interplay of various authorial, strategic, and community elements. Ultimately, the question of formulating an optimal regime of legal regulation for virtual worlds like Norrath must be seen as a new question to be addressed by the political process.