By Wayne Pac
Retail and services provider for the gaming industry Valve is getting sued. Valve is the main provider of games for PC gamers. Valve is a privately-owned company, which means they are not publicly-traded. Valve has been the base of PC gaming for a long time now, and due to them, much of the PC gaming industry has been able to thrive. They provide a platform so that developers from small companies working on games which would otherwise be considered indie can compete with big games from large developers and publishers.
Recently, a British telecommunications company called “British Telecom” has claimed that Valve has been infringing on copyrights that they hold, four of them to be exact. British Telecom (BT) has claimed that by providing media (games and video) via intermediary services, Valve is infringing on the copyright that they hold.
Other companies such as YouTube, Twitch, Blizzard, Apple, and other Video on-demand, and video game providers are also infringing on BT’s copyrights. Are they going to go after all those people as well? There is a name for this practice: “Patent Trolling.”
I support copyrights, but not when it comes to copyrights on things like this, such as providing a service to people and copyrighting the means to do so. The only time I think it’s okay for copyrights to exist is when you as an individual or legal entity want to protect your goods or services from another competitor that wants to use your brand to sell another good or service.
For example, this legal debacle between BT and Valve, is stupid. But if I were to start up a company that sells shampoo, with the name of Pac’s Conditioner and Shampoo, if somebody was to pirate my name, and sell their own, I would be completely okay to sue them. Stuff like attacking Valve because they are providing an intermediary service from a producer to a consumer, is completely inane.