A confluence of factors is radically transforming the way that people interact socially, the way businesses develop and maintain relationships, the power that individuals have to impact consumer and business decisions, and the value users add to the content of websites and other online services. A number of social media technologies and platforms are maturing simultaneously, creating a seismic shift in online social and commercial activity and the way that entertainment is delivered.
Pillsbury’s clients are leveraging these applications, technologies and business models in innovative and industry leading ways. Our team includes more than 30 attorneys in offices around the world advising clients on the interplay between the business, legal and technological issues associated with social media. Our team was ranked in the top three in the country for video game law by Interactive Age.
We have advised leading companies in the social media, virtual world and game industries, as well as startups, traditional media and other companies, on matters including:
- Successfully assisted Playfish, a leading developer of social network games, in shutting down unauthorized secondary markets for its virtual goods and currency (Playfish was subsequently sold to Electronic Arts for more than $300 million in cash and stock).
- Advised Israel-based Qlipso on a pivotal acquisition of assets belonging to Veoh Networks, Inc., one of the Web's most popular video content and Internet television sites.
- Advised A&E, Inc. on their launch of Roiworld, a virtual goods/currency-based social media platform.
- Advised numerous clients on use of virtual goods, virtual currencies and virtual economies as a primary component of their business models.
- Represented Activision on intellectual property issues in connection with their acquisition of Guitar Hero®, a multibillion-dollar franchise, from RedOctane.
- Advised numerous virtual world and online game companies on gambling and related issues.
Our Social Media, Entertainment & Technology practice involves advising on the traditional legal questions raised by launching new businesses or leveraging new technologies, informed by our in-depth understanding of and experience in addressing the business, legal and technology issues unique to social media, such as:
Developing and implementing comprehensive intellectual property protection strategies
Enforcing intellectual property rights
Assisting with venture capital and private equity funding
Handling mergers and acquisitions
Addressing corporate, tax and employment law issues
Shaping business models based on legal and regulatory factors
A significant component of our advisory work is tied to developing business and legal strategies and the preparation of customized agreements and policies that take into account the specific business models being used and the unique and emerging legal issues that arise with social media, including:
- Assessing the refining business models to facilitate legal compliance and maximize business opportunity
- Customizing Terms of Service agreements and end user license agreements for unique business models
- DMCA policies (and DMCA compliance and enforcement)
- Data protection and privacy policies
- COPPA policies
- Payment provider agreements
- Development agreements
- Developing virtual goods and virtual currencies strategies
- Advising on contests, sweepstakes and gambling issues
- Advising on legal issues with gamification
- Open source issues