Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer,, (408) 573-5737, 50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 750, San Jose, CA 95113

Recent Case Limits a Game Company's Discovery

For video game companies, metagaming, such as through the trade of in-game goods in violation of their terms of service, can seem like a “whack-a-mole” exercise. Even if companies forbid trading virtual goods used in their games through their terms of service, websites will spring up to facilitate a market in virtual goods used in popular games. And when companies stop some sites, others take their place. Part of the problem is that the website operators act anonymously, making it difficult to sue them. Accordingly, video game companies file “John Doe” suits to try to uncover the identities of the anonymous individuals behind the websites facilitating real money trading in their in-game items. A recent case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, however, shows limits to the ability of companies to obtain information about the anonymous individuals operating real money trading sites. Read More...