Niantic agrees to settle the property trespass class action lawsuit over Pokemon Go

    
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Way back in 2016, at the height of the new-news-every-day-on-Pokemon-Go, we covered a lawsuit lodged against Nintendo and Niantic by one Jeffrey Marder of New Jersey, who accused the companies of enticing people to trespass on his property and profiting from that act. That suit was consolidated into a single class-action with several other suits, including those from Michigan and Florida.

In 2017, when the suits were joined, Niantic was maintaining that trespass laws do not cover virtual intrusions, that it is the trespassers who have broken laws, and that a decision against the company could also impact non-games like real estate apps. Legal experts, however, suggested that trespass laws vary from state to state and that neither side had a slam-dunk case.

Now it appears that the case will be settled, though unfortunately, as The BBC reports, the settlement details haven’t yet been released. According to GIbiz, the courts will hear the settlement in February, so expect more after that.

This lawsuit was far from the only one that plagued Pokemon Go and the MMOARG genre over the last few years; Niantic settled a lawsuit over its botched Chicago event for $1.5M earlier this year, and last year Milwaukee County in Wisconsin settled a lawsuit over its parks ordinance, which required video game developers like Niantic to obtain park permits before using those parks as MMOARG destinations.

Source: The BBC via GIbiz

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Bryan Correll

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Mein Craft

Wow, this is so retarded. Let’s ban every single video game next since they obviously induce violence. It’s not the people, guys. It’s those damn brainwashing games. We should ban the computers too come to think of it in order to ensure nobody will try to break the law.

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Bryan Correll

There is a very clear distinction. Pokemon Go requires going to specific real world locations as the the very core of its game play. When Niantic has a pokemon spawn where it can only be captured by trespassing they are specifically enticing players to trespass on that particular property.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You can remove a Pokestop from your private property through a webpage set up for just that purpose. I totally get that it’s not super easy for everybody to do and not everybody would even have access to the tools, but they do exist.

I also get debates on the question “Why should I have to go online and remove it?” I can see points each way, but if you do have the ability to go online and request to remove the stop, that seems to be what you should do.

Technically, the players are supposed to avoid going onto private property. Though the lines aren’t always clear, and people don’t always care.

Possibly if ARGs get more popular they’ll need to have a central list where one could go to exclude their property from all of these games that use real world locations. Maybe it’s something they should do already even with the current limited number of them.

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kgptzac

but if you do have the ability to go online and request to remove the stop, that seems to be what you should do.

Or you can actually sue to make an example out of idiotic gamers and unscrupulous devs for spawning virtual pokemons on your private property, which I think will expedite the process to your conclusion that AR games should not reward players for trespassing, period.

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Crowe

Some of the impacted folks were elderly and didn’t have or know how to use computers. Expecting them to jump through those hoops just so their personal and property privacy wouldn’t be abused is too much to ask. It should be opt-in. (and that would essentially kill it)

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

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Weilan

Those who designed the game need to have their properties trespassed to see how much it sucks.

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Rheem Octuris

I think common sense should preside here.
People should know better than to trespass. It’s very much a no brainer that going onto other people’s property without permission is against the law. And as Niantic did not SPECIFICALLY tell these people to do so, I don’t see how they can be held responsible.
Also comments like this do nothing for the community. An eye for an eye and we’d all be blind.

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Mewmew

Actually Niantic specifically tells them *not* to go on private property, people just don’t listen. Niantic tells them to report if a gym is on someones private property so they can remove it actually.

You can remove a stop from your property online as well if you don’t have the game. Though I get not everybody wants to go through having to deal with filling out a form to be removed.

I don’t see that Niantic is responsible, though I understand the frustration of the homeowners.

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kgptzac

Niantic tells them to report if a gym is on someones private property so they can remove it actually.

And I think it’s a colossal fail to have gym locations to be people’s private property in the first place. Niantic is absolutely responsible for the enacting an algorithm’s or random online troll’s input on where a location should be a pokestop or a gym, and it is absolutely a right of property owners, who have done nothing wrong to warrant the situation, to not having to petition Niantic and expect players not getting funneled to their property.