Video gamers are often at the forefront of new technologies, whether they are playing on consoles, computers, or mobile devices. Sometimes, they play through games in the manner intended by game publishers. But, other times, they seek to use games as platforms for new forms of creative expression or change elements of game software or hardware in ways that impact their gameplay.
Video game modding sees gamers challenging traditional notions of content delivery and control, permitting them to actively engage with their virtual environment instead of taking that environments as a given. But, modding may bump up against the law, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (which criminalizes some acts of unauthorized computer access); Section 1201 of the United States Copyright Act (which regulates circumvention of technological protection measures, including digital rights management technologies); and copyright law more broadly (raising questions about the scope of fair use protections embodied in the Copyright Act).
This conversation will focus on the state of video game culture and the state of US law as it concerns user-driven modifications to video games. Participants include Kendra Albert (gamer and HLS 2L), Parker Higgins (Director of Copyright Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation), and Andy Sellars (Coydon B. Dunham First Amendment Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Clinical Fellow at the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center). The conversation will be moderated by Chris Bavitz (HLS Clinical Professor of Law, Managing Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic, and Berkman Center Faculty Director)
Presented by the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology