“Video games create virtual worlds that players physically interact with. In so doing video games upset the traditional media apple cart. The gamer becomes the controller of a responsive virtual world, rather than simply a passive “receiver” of images and sound…The creation, dissemination and enjoyment of interactive entertainment is governed by a multi-dimensional grid of international and domestic laws relating to intellectual property, communications, contracts, torts, privacy, obscenity, antitrust and freedom of expression. The myriad legal issues currently manifest in digital media often originated in games. Video gaming has presaged the now rapid rise of real-time social media communities. By building additional levels for their favorite products gamers have for decades been engaged in crowd sourcing, user-generated content and remixing source materials. Games also consistently lead technological, interactive and creative advancements of the digital age.
Threatening intellectual property orthodoxies has, quite literally, always been part of the game. It can easily be suggested that the legal and ethical issues in all media spaces may be best and most critically explored and understood through the lens of video games. Accordingly the processes of creating and playing games constitute a useful proving ground for legal constructs applying to all media and mediums. That all of this occurs with a core demographic that includes very large numbers of children considerably complicates the resulting analysis.
The goal of this course is to continue scholarship in the area. It also forms part of a cluster of courses both at the Allard School of Law related to the media, entertainment and communications industries.” – Syllabus
Steve Wilcox is an assistant professor in the Game Design & Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University where he researches & creates knowledge translation games. He is also the co-founder & former editor-in-chief of First Person Scholar.