Predictions 2015: More Late Extras

December 22, 2014

It is never too late for quality extras – and that’s what we have here.

{b}From Jas Purewal, Partner at Purewal & Partners:{/b}

The growth of regulation in the interactive entertainment industry will continue in jagged, uncoordinated and unexpected ways. 2014 saw some great examples: the UK introducing regulation of free to play games by the OFT/CMA and the European Commission jumping on the bandwagon but focusing on the mobile platforms. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority and US Federal Trade Commission issuing guidance and deciding cases on video games and YouTube marketing. Decisions in continental Europe (particularly in Germany) affecting the industry position from consumer data collection to first sale rights. Perhaps most ominously for 2015, CJEU cases such as {i}PC Box{/i} have begun poking at a hitherto dormant Pandora’s Box: in the modern age, should interactive entertainment products under EU law be considered to be software, or part of the creative arts, or both or neither?

{b}From John Salmon, Partner, Sector Head, Financial Services, Pinsent Masons LLP{/b}

{i}2015 is the year of answers!{/i}

2014 was a year in which governments and regulators asked questions about the future of digital. For example, a call for information on digital currencies was put out – is Bitcoin a digital asset, a form of currency or a payment system or all of these, and what will be the long-term effect of its issuing, transaction processing and verification all being managed collectively rather than by any one trusted source? Others asked questions about marketing practices – whether tracking and profiling leads to personalised pricing that is predatory. Still others thought about how to present information online – transparency and the point at which information presented on a web site turns into a regulated activity such as giving advice. A lot has been said about connected technologies, driverless cars and drones in the context of surveillance.

Now that the questions have been asked, responses received and data collected and assessed, 2015 must be the year in which regulators give answers to digital legal questions. We predict that regulators will begin paying more attention to the essential connection between growth and the ability to innovate free from unnecessary and burdensome regulatory constraints. Many regulators will recognise that while consumer protection and competition objectives have their place, these objectives should not be preferred over or viewed in isolation from the need to promote digital progress. Pro-innovation regulatory measures must prevail if society is to unlock the vast potential of a converging number of world-changing technologies … or are we just being too optimistic?!