Thursday, June 29, 2017

U.S. County Sued for Extreme Pokémon Go Rules

It's Thursday, and for some reason Blogger decided it didn't want to submit the scheduled posts I had for this week. While I look into this technical feud, let's talk bout Pokémon Go. Yes the game is still quite popular and nets a hefty profit for the developer. But the immense initial interest when it first launch is leaving some lasting effects.

Milwaukee County, in Wisconsin, is being sued by developer Candy Labs AR, over the city's permit requirement. In March, the county enacted a law that required everyone to obtain a permit, if they wanted to play an augmented reality (AR) game in a public place. That means parks, walk/bike trails, sidewalks - anywhere that is deemed public. Similar to "Pidgey's Law," the county was concerned that the increased foot traffic would cause unnecessary side effects: more littering, more damage to the grass, etc.

Even more fun is that if you live in the area, and do decide to fill out the 10 page permit, and go through the screening process where you have to be interviewed by the Parks and Recreation department. the county reserves the right to not approve it for any reason they see fit. How very bureaucratic of them.

Candy Labs AR is currently testing a new poker game that uses augmented reality elements, and they are finding it impossible to comply with Milwaukee's law. It's also a pretty flagrant violation of first amendment rights for citizens. The county is only regulating video games - sports events or any general activities are not required to have a permit. And that's why the game developer is suing the county. The details concede that Milwaukee officials are allowed to regulate use of parks, but requiring a permit for video gaming is a restraint on free speech. If you are going to regulate one aspect, you have to regulate everything. A public park is a not a cherry-picked system. It's all or nothing.

If the county and the developer don't agree to a settlement in the upcoming months, the case will go to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin next April.

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