Not So Cheerful About Varsity Brands (Crosspost)

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(Written for master trademark attorney Ron Coleman’s Likelihood Of Confusion® blog, crossposted with his gracious consent.)

So last Wednesday (March 22, 2017, if you’re joining us late) the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc, et al

And a very small, highly specialized subset of LawTwitter went nuts.

Ron Coleman collected some great examples on his post Rah Rah Raw. (Trademark attorneys: Clever names on demand.) On the one hand, we have experienced copyright/fashion lawyers saying things like this:

On the other hand, we have intellectual property law professors saying things like this:


If it’s not clear, that was a response to the prior tweet. Or even things like this:


…when they really ought to know better. 140 character limit or not, that seems a bit over the top. But is it? Let’s review the decision.

First, a very brief summary of patent law vs. copyright law. Patents protect useful inventions. Copyrights protect artistic creations. In a sense, patents “trump” copyrights, in that you cannot use a copyright to protect a useful invention. (For instance, you cannot copyright the shape of an improved airplane propeller and claim nobody else can make a similar propeller. That’s what patents are for.) Patents are harder to get than copyrights, have much shorter terms, and cost a lot more both to obtain and to enforce. On the other hand, you can usually make a lot more money in a patent infringement suit than in a copyright infringement suit, there are fewer defenses to patent infringement than copyright infringement, and defenses to patent infringement are harder to raise.

Just to make things conf… I mean, interesting there are also what are known as design patents. These protect the “ornamental design of useful articles.” They are sort of a bizarre hybrid of patents and copyrights that have some of the worst (and best) features of both. They are outside the scope of the decision, but keep in mind that they exist when discussing this area of the law, if for no other reason than that “design” does not mean quite the same thing to a (design) patent lawyer that it does to a copyright lawyer, and I think that causes some of the confusion we are seeing.

Speaking of designs, in this context, designs are the key. Both parties in the Varsity Brands case make cheerleader uniforms, including non-team-specific uniforms with a variety of geometric designs on them. Here are examples:

vbrands

Those are uniforms for which Varsity Brands, Inc. (the original plaintiff, which is why I call the case Varsity Brands, hereafter “Varsity”) had registered copyrights. Star Athletica, LLC (hereafter, “Star”) made some competing uniforms which allegedly infringed said copyrights, and Varsity sued Star for copyright infringement.

Please allow me first and foremost to direct your attention to Footnote 1 on Page 11 of the main opinion:

1We do not today hold that the surface decorations are copyrightable. We express no opinion on whether these works are sufficiently original to qualify for copyright protection, see Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U. S. 340, 358–359 (1991), or on whether any other prerequisite of a valid copyright has been satisfied.

Failure to read/understand/accept the text of that footnote is, in my opinion, behind most of the more sensational tweets/comments such as Professor Fromer’s supra. The assertion that you can now slap a copyrighted design on any old thing and claim the thing itself enjoys the protection of copyright meets its first and highest hurdle in the fact that the design must in and of itself be copyrightable. The opinion is not addressing the question of copyrightability of the underlying design. (I myself, though not familiar with the particulars of the registrations, find them somewhat dubious in that regard.) It is assuming arguendo that the design is copyrighted, and resolving an old and complex circuit split on the legal ramifications of attaching a copyrighted design to a useful article.

And yes, there was a complex split. I have seen people claiming as many as six different tests existed for determining when useful article limitation overcame copyright protection. Many of them considered, to some degree, how functional the article was as an independent factor. And this is not a new idea. It is an old principle, recently re-affirmed in TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing_Displays, Inc. that you cannot use trade dress to create “perpetual patents.” Similarly, in Kohler Co. v. Moen, Incorporated the same rule was applied to trademarks. All of the tests attempting to do the same with copyright were created by intelligent judges and it is not my intent to dismiss or belittle them.

But I think that Occam’s Razor (the original, not the newfangled version) is very relevant here: “Do not multiply entities beyond necessity.” The intent of copyrights is to protect artistic works (henceforth I will not call them “designs.”) Using functionality as an independent test, in the case of artistic works applied to useful articles, is adding an unnecessary entity. And asking questions about intent versus perception or relative economic factors, as some of the tests did, is definitely adding unnecessary entities.

As a simple example, Justice Breyer’s dissent wants to apply a somewhat different approach:

Can we extract those features as copyrightable design works standing alone, without bringing along, via picture or design, the dresses of which they constitute a part? (Dissent, page 10.)

However, as the main opinion points out, not only does this lead to implausible results (You can’t copyright a square canvas: does this mean any painting made on one can’t be copyrighted?) but it imposes a requirement not found in the Copyright Act. As the first paragraph of the syllabus says:

The Copyright Act of 1976 makes “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features” of the “design of a useful article” eligible for copyright protection as artistic works if those features “can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.” 17 U. S. C. §101.

There are two “entities,” if you will:

  1. Can you identify the artistic work separately?
  2. Can it exist independently of the useful article?

In Varsity Brands, the answer to both questions is clearly yes. The artistic work is the pattern of lines and figures. We could, with a really sharp knife, take the top layer of fabric off and create an independent work without destroying or limiting the usefulness of the underlying article in any way. How artistic it would be is a separate question, but if this:

…is a prized exhibit of one of the world’s great art galleries, who are we to say that Varsity’s works are unworthy of a little protection?

In any event, Justice Breyer’s proposed test, just like all the other tests, includes new entities which are neither necessary nor present in the statute. The test set forth in the opinion puts the burden exactly where the statute set it all along, and just as importantly, where the underlying principle of copyright protection would reasonably set it: on the independent existence and originality of the artistic work. Once they are established the “canvas” upon which artistic work rests, be it an actual canvas, a t-shirt, or a cheerleading uniform, matters not.

So what does all this mean to practitioners on the ground?

Going forward, this test will put a lot more emphasis back on the fundamentals of copyrightability and the doctrines governing it. Copyrightability is a mixed question of fact and law, heavily fact-dependent. Principles of copyrightability determination such as scènes à faire, the merger doctrine, and even the basic requirement of minimal artistic creativity set forth in Feist are untouched by the decision. These principles will form the basis for defense of copyright infringement allegations involving useful articles, rather than elaborate and circuit-dependent tests regarding how the functionality affects the copyright protection afforded the copyright owner.

Likewise, when the useful article itself is ornamental, preemption by the principles of design patent law will still come into play. If the ornamental design and the useful object are irretrievably combined, only design patent protection will be available. And that distinction will still be available as a defense to any claim of copyright infringement in the article as a whole.

For an example of how that could apply to fashion, consider the work of Tomoko Nakamichi:

In the case of clothing such as that made by Ms. Nakamichi, the artistic work is usually not going to be any individual decoration, but rather the article of clothing as a whole. If you remove the “artistic” parts, there is almost nothing useful left. Part of that is the non-two-dimensional nature of the artistic work. You will note that the Varsity Brands opinion talks a lot about applying two and three-dimensional artworks to useful articles. But here the subcomponents are mechanically integrated into the article itself, and removing them would cause the article to be less useful. Distinctions like this will become more important with the alternative tests that existed before Varsity Brands no longer available.

Relatedly, copyright law has an extensive body of doctrine as to how much of a copyrighted artwork must be copied to create an infringement and how much modification an alleged infringer must perform before the alleged infringing work is no longer a copy or an infringing derivative work. Those principles still apply, full force, to any allegation of copyright infringement related to a useful article under Varsity Brands. Along with standard copyrightability defenses and patent/design patent preemption, these provide accused infringers substantial protection from the tsunami of liability some commenters are predicting in the wake of Varsity Brands.

I hope you found this post educational. Even more importantly, to the extent you may have been worried about a sudden surge in potential liability on behalf of creators I hope it has reassured you somewhat. If readers have any questions or comments, I would be delighted to hear them. Thanks for reading!

Followup: Why @ORDLawyersHQ Is Still On The Job

We're here for her.

You may be wondering…

Now that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have said they will abide by the court orders banning implementation of the Executive Order (EO) regarding travellers from particular countries, why are the lawyers still at the airports?

We're here for her.

We’re here for her. Photo via @EvanMAllen at the Boston Globe. https://twitter.com/EvanMAllen

Please be advised that I am not am immigration lawyer, nor do I speak for @ORDLawyersHQ, any other legal aid group, @HelpTheLawyers, or any other person or group. But if you ask me…

First and foremost, because the potential for abuse or, to be more charitable, differing opinions as to what the CBP should and should not do about these travelers is still very real. We are watching, we understand the legal system, and bureaucracy does not intimidate us. Attorneys are great observers and monitors in this situation. Having these teams in place at the airports is also a good way to get information about how travelers are being treated at foreign airports by the CBP. They have agents at many international airports, and may try to intercept people from boarding in the first place. Because airlines can be fined if they let people board flights to the US who aren’t eligible to enter, they are subject to pressure from the government.

Secondly, because there is still a great deal of fear, doubt and confusion in the minds of the general public and particularly in travelers from other countries who don’t know what’s going on. They hear conflicting reports, they see wild things on Facebook, and they’re scared. Again, a calm, purposeful group of people in suits explaining things to them is a valuable resource. We won’t be able to indefinitely sustain an operation just to reassure people, but it’s certainly part of the purpose.

Finally, because this organization is valuable training and provides continuity in case the EO is reinstated. With one partial exception, all the court orders are TRO. This stands for Temporary Restraining Order. Emphasis on the Temporary. This is how a court stops people from doing something, pursuant to the request of someone bringing suit, that it seems very likely that the person suing will win in court about. They’re hard to get, and if you do get one, it’s very likely that you’ll win and get a PI – a Permanent Injunction. In fact, that’s literally one of the requirements to get one in the first place. (Another is that some kind of irreparable harm has to be imminent if the court waits for the suit to be finished. “Being sent back to a country where you’re in danger” definitely counts.) But it is not automatic or assured. One or more of the courts which have issued TRO may allow them to lapse and/or find that the government was in fact entitled to do what the EO says, which means no PI will issue.

Even if the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the other people and organizations do get PI, the decisions of the District Courts which are granting them – those are the trial courts at the Federal level – are subject to appeal. First it goes to a Federal Court of Appeals, where it will be heard by a three-judge panel. That panel can:

  • Sustain the order (and keep the PI,)
  • Reverse it (and negate the PI) or…
  • Remand it to the District Court for reconsideration (which means that the PI will likely be negated, but the District Court will get a chance to re-institute it if they do things “right” this time.) They can also just refuse to hear the appeal, which in practical terms is the same thing as sustaining the District Court’s decision.

Whatever happens in the Court of Appeals, the party who loses can ask for a hearing “en banc,” which means that instead of a three-judge panel all of the judges on the Court of Appeals hear the case and vote again, or they can appeal directly to the Supreme Court. If they get an en banc hearing, whoever loses that can then also appeal to the Supreme Court. At any stage of this, the order can be sustained, reversed, and/or remanded.

Things get really interesting when you find out that each Court of Appeals oversees several states, but that the decisions of one Court of Appeals are not binding on the Courts of Appeals that oversee other states. Only a ruling from the Supreme Court binds all lower courts. So it’s entirely possible that in the very near future, we could have some states (and the airports and Customs officers operating there) where the ban is in force, and other states where it is not. (This is called a “circuit split,” and it’s one of the main reasons cases make it to the Supreme Court. But that takes a while.)

So there are a lot of things that could happen which could put the ban right back in force in some places, or everywhere. If the airport legal clinics completely dissipate, they will have to be rebuilt from scratch if any of those things happen. So the prudent thing to do, and the plan so far as I know, is to keep them operating, even at a lower level, until we have a better understanding of how things are ultimately going to shake out. So please, keep listening, watching, and volunteering if you can. Donations, even small ones, will be greatly appreciated on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future. Some groups need meals, some need tech, and many organizations will need money to defer expenses. You can follow @Helpthelawyers for links and information.

I know that every single expression of support, from lunch for twenty to a homemade cookie or just a handshake, is very encouraging to the people working in those airports, and everywhere else. Thanks for your support.

My Day Volunteering With @ORDLawyersHQ (Updated)

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I hurt my back (and broke some bones in my foot) a few weeks ago: I have scarcely left the house since then. Just as I was starting to feel better, Friday’s Executive Order regarding immigrants from seven particular countries was passed. I don’t consider myself part of a “Resistance,” and I am not an open-borders advocate. But the way in which that EO was implemented was, in my opinion, an insult to the rule of law. And if the rule of law fails we are in graver danger than a thousand terrorists could hope to cause us. So I volunteered for an afternoon shift with @ORDLawyersHQ, the pro bono legal observation and assistance group operating out of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Fortunately, my back tolerated it (though I was about out of gas by the time my shift ended) and I didn’t have to walk around, so I feel okay about it. (And yes, I’ll be back in the office soon. :) ) I’m very gratified and happy to have participated in this effort. As one Twitterer observed, our new President has done the impossible: he’s transformed lawyers into superheroes. And the people running this are heroes. Just the value of their time is incredible: I suspect that the team I was on would bill in or nearly in the five figures per hour. That means my shift constituted probably at least fifty thousand dollars worth of legal fees. That’s one shift, one day, one airport. Plus a major law firm donated a nice printer and a free Wi-Fi hotspot for us to use and sent one of their senior IT people to set it up. Donations of food and coffee, if you’ll excuse the expression, poured in.

Eastman Egg Company delivers lunch to @ORDLawyersHQ

Eastman Egg Company delivers lunch to @ORDLawyersHQ!

Thanks to Eastman Egg Company and the Goddess and the Grocer, as well as Metropolis Coffee. (I don’t drink coffee, but everybody else was happy.)

What was it like?

First of all, I did my shift on Thursday. It was far from the chaos of the weekend and early in the week: CBP/DHS had reversed some of their harder-line positions and the court orders were kicking in. Lawyers can organize like nobody’s business and protocols and allocations of responsibility were pretty well implemented. We had only two serious “possible risk” situations during my shift: one resolved shortly before I left and the other was a private visa matter unrelated to the EO. We had some situations of concern which were due to occur this evening: I don’t have any information on them.

I had volunteered to be a shift leader/point of contact: the outgoing shift leader gave me some protocol documents and showed me all the responsibilities that needed to be allocated. I thought I was going to be the only shift leader but an amazing attorney who had already done a shift lead jumped in. (Hi, Rebecca!) We sort of naturally settled out that she handled most of the interfacing with the various matter managers, and I mostly did logistics. We cooperated and consulted quite a bit on some things, including on when to kick things higher up the chain.

The most visible matter was the canvassers, those people you’ve seen pictures of holding signs asking travellers if they need help. What may not be clear from most reports is that those people are standing next to where passengers leave security: the canvassers can’t go into the secure areas near the jetways. We were usually contacted by friends and relatives who were concerned that the people who they were meeting were not coming out of Customs after their planes landed. They were under the guidance of a canvasser leader (Hi, Sharada!) who I texted when I had any information on when a flight with potential detainees was incoming.

Aside from being a point of contact, I was also monitoring incoming flights with a very slick dynamic document someone had set up that constantly fed me information on arriving international flights. When one was from a country that seemed likely to have potential detainees, we would take extra care to try to see if anyone needed help. We also asked people coming off the flights if they had seen any unusual activity. If so, they would answer a short questionnaire either with a canvasser or by coming back to our activity center and talking to the intake manager.

The intake manager was fantastic. He not only managed all the data we got from travellers and waiting friends and relations, he reviewed our documentation in response to information requests from multiple groups, including one looking for potential violations of the orders for a possible Motion to Compel. (Hi, Nima!) Also, he spoke Farsi. A really versatile and helpful fellow!

We also had a social media person who was tweeting and posting to the Facebook group. I was sort of surprised how many attorneys (most of whom were much younger than I) didn’t use Twitter and weren’t even familiar with how it worked. Sometimes I forget that I am a tech attorney, as well as a big old geek, and other people just don’t care about this stuff. That went well, although we had some Tweets from people asking for help with the aforementioned private visa matter. That was tough: our options were limited.

At one point, I talked to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, although I had one of our very able immigration attorneys (Hi, Yvette!) listen to what I said with instructions to stop me if I said something stupid. Fortunately she didn’t have to jump in, although she also answered some of the questions for which I was very grateful. We had reporters from the local NBC affiliate doing bumpers every so often, though so far as I know they didn’t interview any of us today.

UPDATE: The reporter, Tammy Leitner from NBC 5, did show us at the end of a story on a local artist affected by the EO. The intake manager, Nima Taradji, is also interviewed in this segment. Ms. Leitner, by the way, was very friendly and courteous when she was filming in our clinic.

 


I also talked to a representative of a local Congressional representative, who was trying to help a constituent (again, the private visa matter.) She was very appreciative of the work we were doing and offered the Congressman’s support if we could use it.

The afternoon flew by, though we weren’t overwhelmed and there was time for discussion of the situation in general as well as some rather sneaky new tactics one of the people pulled out for secondary inspection told us about. I genuinely enjoyed meeting and talking with every single attorney and volunteer. There were several non-attorney volunteers who were interpreters and also helped with canvassing.

One thing we did not do was provide legal advice directly to anyone, and we certainly didn’t prepare any habeas motions or anything like that. By this point, that is being handled by people higher up the chain, including the ACLU and some dedicated attorneys at large law firms who are receiving our intake information and taking necessary actions. Sitting on the airport floor filing habeas motions was an emergency thing, assuming it actually happened (I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t know.) It’s no longer necessary: we were functioning as much as legal monitors and community outreach as actual immigration advisors.

Customs and Border Patrol definitely knew we were there: we didn’t interact with them during my shift, but the incoming shift leader (Hi, Alex!) said he had on an earlier shift. He was considering asking them about the matter that resolved right before I left, but fortunately it resolved before that was necessary. And at one point I stepped across the hall to get a drink at McDonald’s, and the two men ahead of me were uniformed CBP agents.

“This could be interesting,” I thought.

One of them turned around and saw my badges. I nodded and said, “Good afternoon, gentlemen. I hope things are going smoothly.” One of them responded very politely, “Afternoon. They’re going pretty smooth.” Things were quite cordial. Some police also stopped by at one point and asked if we knew about any planned protests. They were very friendly about it. We told them protests weren’t really our department and we didn’t know of any, but it seemed quite possible.

So, in summary, volunteering at the airport, at least at O’Hare, is not exactly something out of a legal drama, but it was good, useful work and I’m glad I did it. If you are an immigration attorney and/or an interpreter, please consider volunteering if you live near an international airport or other port of entry. Otherwise, you should still think about it, but be patient: right now they have plenty of volunteers and interest will probably drop off. Unfortunately, the need will probably not drop off as fast, so please keep in touch with your local volunteer group: they may need you well after the next crisis pulls media attention away from this one. If you are interested, here are some links:

O’Hare Volunteer Group: @ORDLawyersHQ on Twitter, http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4cada92ea6f58-ordattorney to sign up as a volunteer.

General info: @Helpthelawyers on Twitter, current group information:

Hang in there, everybody. It’s going to be a long haul. But we’re all in it together.

 

(If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments and/or drop me an email.)

Wow, MAGFEST, Again!

So I was again invited to be a panelist at MAGFEST, and not being an idiot, I immediately accepted. I again had a marvelous time, hung out with cool people, and hopefully helped a few. Herein, my comments on this year’s amazing-palooza.

  1. My panel, “How Not To Make a Game: Revenge of the Lawyers,” was a huge hit. I say that not just to make myself sound good, but because I have photographic evidence:https://twitter.com/LoadingLaw/status/817549252067033089

    Note that that’s from several minutes before the panel started. It was SRO for most of the actual panel, and we kept going for twenty minutes after in the room and another half hour outside in the hall.

    It is very flattering to me that one of the comments on the MAGFEST app was “100% the most had-their-sh**-together panel at mag.” However, it is also very funny because one of the other panelists and I literally made up the panel format on the flight from Chicago that morning and the other two agreed to it at lunch. (The panel was at 3.) If you attended the panel and have more questions, or, heck, even if you didn’t, please feel free to contact me and we can continue the conversation.

  2. Shoutout to my other game law friends, including Sam Castree (this is all your fault, Sam – see him @IndieGameLawyer,) Ross Hersemann (@LoadingLaw,) and Joe Neuman (who is a lawyer at EA) for being on the panel with me, Ryan Morrison (@MrRyanMorrison) and Ma’idah Lashani (@BANParty) of Morrison/Lee, Scott Kelly from Banner & Witcoff, and all the others whose names I’ve misplaced (told you I would.) It’s a small community, but a very, very cool one.
  3. Speaking of Ryan Morrison, another shoutout to him and Sheena Perez (@psychobilly2422), Travis Rupp-Greene (@stealthymoose), and Phil Didn’tGetHisLastNameButEverybodyCallsHimMowtenDoo (@mowtendoo) for the “Video Game Industry Real Talk: The Indie Sequel” panel. Fabulous information, good times. And thanks especially for this exchange:Ryan: “I’m going to ask Marc, who’s in the audience and is a video game patent lawyer, to say something about that question.”
    Me: “Yes, thanks, there are three or four of us.” *audience laughs* *answers question*
    Ryan: “Thanks. By the way, he wasn’t really joking. There’s like 12.”
  4. Jax and Tasker and Damocles Thread and Overwatch LARP and Witcher LARP and the Solemn and Venerable Goth Court. Let the record show: Wow. Just wow. Last year this merry band of magicians introduced me to LARP and it was amazing. This year, it was just as amazing and the people both old and new were too.

    Friday, we did “The Fall of Overwatch,” a LARP based on some of the game’s backstory. Somehow I ended up not only as a combat engineer, but as head of security for Overwatch Central. Running around yelling “Holographic Display!” and reminding everyone that this was the 21st century and we had portable communicators just never got old, at least for me. (The ST may feel differently. :) ) Despite never having played, I got into the story immediately thanks to the skill and hard work of the storytellers. They made excellent mechanics choices and allowed all of us to become super-soldiers, etc, with just a few key choices and random assignments.

    Then, the amazing Jax did “Goth Court.” I don’t know that I can put into words how something so wrong could become so right. :) I played a Normie who accidentally let my Goth neighbor’s pet snake eat her pet rat (One of the highest praises I have ever received: “Are you a Goth? Somebody get this man some eyeliner.”) as well as an expert witness in both Goth Dry Cleaning (of COURSE there is) and Gothic Interpretive Dance (of COURSE there is.) Jax was a little worried in that there were like four or five actual lawyers in the LARP and we’d laugh at her. I knew she was wrong and as usual, I was right. It was fantastic. Extra points also to Lauren the Bailiff (“I sentence you to my bailiff.”) and Abby the Clerk of the Court (“The record will show: Whoa.”)

    Saturday, we did “The Witcher: When the Wyvern Wills,” a Witcher-based LARP. I haven’t played any Witcher games, either (yes I am lame shut up) but we did one last year and it was fine, and so was this one. While Ryan may have had the most amazing characterization (“I’m trying to see things from the perspective of the little people”) I consider myself to have won, because a) nobody realized I was the one who woke up the wyvern, and b) the person I wanted to get the throne actually got it, and c) NOBODY REALIZED ANYTHING I WAS UP TO THE ENTIRE GAME. Plus I got to use my magic power which was cool. (“I hit him ba…” “Oh no, you don’t.”)

    And in particular: Ryan and Marshall, so good to see you again. Lauren and Aaron, it was like meeting two (awesome) old friends for the very first time. Those of you whose names I didn’t catch or don’t remember (warned you,) you all rock.

I’ll briefly recount the other panels I attended as well. I will be covering the indie game booths I reviewed in separate posts elsewhere, but in general, I was really pleased with what I saw. Keep doing what you’re doing, guys.

“Lights, Sound, Movement: Taking Cosplay to the Next Level with Arduino:” I have mixed feelings about this panel. The description made it seem a lot more intro-level than it was. It was really interesting and gave me some ideas (I really want to make a Diskos. :) ) but the flow was choppy and random, and given the size of the crowd I suspect there were a lot of people for whom they skipped way too many steps before diving into coding the controller.

“The Morality of Worldbuilding:” I really enjoyed this panel. Despite the fact that the panelists were all clearly of a particular position on the issues, they were extremely evenhanded in their approach. As someone who has been dealing with the fact that a few pinheaded players will ruin a massive online game system for everybody if you let them for many years, it’s interesting to see that while the stakes have changed, the basic problems have not.

“Video Games: Unique Among Media (Just Like All Other Media:)” Loved it, and not just because Sam was on it. :) Starting from the old question, “Why do video game movies suck?” the panel explored the differences between pop culture media in what they can and can’t do well, poorly, or at all. Hopefully it gave the creatives in the audience some food for thought about what medium a particular story, or way to tell it, would be best suited for that purpose.

“The Rise of Mobile Gaming:” This panel was… confused. The people on it were fun, and they obviously love gaming. Hard to find fault with that. But I’m not really sure I understood what it was they were trying to accomplish. Certainly some interesting facts and figures (I did not know that the first smartphone was made by IBM) but it needed more specific direction to really be good, in my opinion.

I honestly did not interact with anyone the ENTIRE WEEKEND who I did not enjoy interacting with, so if you got left out, blame my bad memory and eight hours of sleep. (Sounds like a lot… but that was over three days.) Thanks so much, and see you next year!

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