Console Gaming in Arcades, Illegal?

A month or so ago, our scene decided to host console sessions at our local arcade. We received permission from the manager, we brought televisions, consoles and played. The manager was fine with it for a few weeks and then suggested that we hold off, until she could make sure it was ok with her bosses. Her boss was ok with it, but the boss above him said that having the consoles in the store would be breaking a copyright infringement, that we were breaking the law.

Can someone explain this to me? Is there anything practical we can do to fix this or is it just the sad reality? I am open to solutions, but I really hold my local arcade near and dear to my heart. I would hate to have to take my fun elsewhere to escape the shut-in style of just meeting at each others house to game.

Why the fuck do people keep posting fighting game shit in the General Discussion? FGD is right above GD how did you fucking miss it?

Also you need to explain that AV. The fuck is that thing?

He not talking about strategies or anything. This more has to do with legal matters and him asking it here is just as appropriate as asking it in FGD.

The only way I think console gaming could be illegal MIGHT be if people were paying to play per game, or advertising the game publicly without the game publisher’s concent or the copy being played was hacked in some form. Other then that I think someone above might not have liked the idea of console gaming in a arcade because it is draining the power and they can’t make money off it the way the do machines if it is a regular show case.

My opinion, I have no law degree or know enough about laws to confirm if there is something illegal about it.

The perfect person to ask this question: UltraDavid.

I thought about posting it in fighting game discussion, but I thought that this could apply to anyone. There are more than fighting games at an arcade after all. If a moderator disagrees then please move it, but otherwise I ask for no citizen’s arrest.

Back to the topic at hand. I have talked and those around me thinks there is no law of any sort against us doing such. Unless of course the console or developer companies went after us over it which is not likely as it promotes their product. I don’t know, it is puzzling to me. I am not aware of much law beyond the American Constitution, so there are not many puzzle pieces available to me to figure it out. So, please help, and trolls treat me kindly please.

Edit: Power consumption is likely the most valid point I supposed that could be made. Which we were trying to think of ways to pay our dues to the arcade. I think a sort of by the hour method for players to use the equipment we brought and that is then paid directly to the arcade would have been fair. A friend tells me that the upper boss as you said just does not want us there for whatever reason and just made that excuse.

If someone higher up chooses to err on the side of caution then I doubt there’s really anything you can do to convince em.

there definitely are legal issues with it, which is why every arcade (and netcafe that rents out consoles) that does it is very careful about the way they do it

Some arcades here have console cabinets, but only turn them on during freeplay hours - as you’re not paying to play the game, but paying to get into a room where the game is conveniently set up for you.

Well, I was thinking that its just that you guys get to go there and play for free so the big boss doesnt want you there. If he isnt gettin’ paid why the fuck would he want you hangin’ out there basically competing with his arcade. But its no competition because you guys arent paying for that shit. Plus you’re using power and im sure you use the toilets and eat in there and make a mess.

Man, thinking about it I wouldnt want you there either…unless you were paying.

There is other shit to consider I suppose. What if your shit busts in there, like your console gets knocked on the floor or a tv does? What if someone drops a tv on their foot when inside the arcade, you know, while carrying it in? Would that dude then be responsible for that shit? Im sure thats something he has to take into consideration seeing as it is a business and all.

Most arcades these days (or at least the ones I’ve been to) have MvC3, AE and MK console cabs. It’s the only way they can afford said games.

I don’t see a company suing a small arcade because they a renting out space for people to setup their consoles to play. If they require you to buy food or something along those lines then that might help avoid legal issues. You’d then be paying to eat but could still play since it’s not being advertised as paying to play. Like if you went to a cafe and they charged people to read their magazines then the publishers might want a kickback. But you go for coffee and they have magazines to read for free then the magazines aren’t considered a service being offered for profit.

It may have to do with you going for free and using their power. I wouldn’t want people there unless they were buying something. At least by food and drinks otherwise they should have been charging you some kind of venue fee to begin with. Maybe the manager is wise to that and doesn’t want you guys there since you’d basically be loitering. He could just be using that as an excuse. A fairly good one I might add.

I believe he’s referring to the laws that affect movies, video games, etc. Basically under the copyright warnings that pop up before the movie (and usually somewhere in the credits) you get a statement that says how it’s illegal for public viewings and is for home viewing only. Video games have similar laws. If you want to do this, you have to get permission.

Now, unless you’re emailing the company telling them you’re doing this, or you’re being particularly loud about it in your area, it’s very unlikely that they would ever find out. I think the main boss is just worried about any repercussions he might have to face should the worst happen, because the responsibility falls on him and not you. The only thing I can think of, is if company reps ever come to an arcade (like from Capcom or whoever), if they saw it, he’d be in trouble. I don’t even know if this happens with companies sending reps, I’m just speculating.

Some of the answers given make me wonder how public tournaments even get the ok to run. If all is said to be true, then how is it legally possible to even build a fighting game scene these days with the extinction of arcades? SRK, online play and such are great sources to search for players, but it is a big world out there. It is already hard enough with how Call of Duty has basically turned potential players into FPS zombies. Oh well, thank you for the straight answers.

Seek out UltraDavid and he’ll set things straight. He’s a lawyer.

What kind of law does he practice? He may not know much about something like this.

I only ask because I have seen that mentioned already in this thread and…im curious. I have a buddy that is a lawyer so I decided to ask him for some advice on a family law situation and he couldnt tell me shit without doing a lot of research. He doesnt practice Family Law so he didnt really know shit about it.

If the arcade is charging yall something to play your console games that would be illegal, if you read the fine print on the back of any of your video games box it tells you that its illegal to rent, pay for play etc. I work at an arcade that is pretty much all consoles, we do have cabinets too like ggac, 3s, mvc2 and a couple more but the way our set up works is we charge people entry into the game room by the hour, after that you can play everything and anything for free. Sounds like a bit of a loop hole my boss figured out, we dont charge you to play the games we just charge you to come into his game room where you have access to his setups.

He’s an entertainment lawyer or something like that, so this is the kind of stuff he would deal with. He had an article on SRK a few months back on whether it was legal to publicly display games at tournaments.

These companies aren’t going to shut down tourneys if their game is being played because it’s free advertisement for them.

what assholes

Tournies get run like that because it’s a law that nobody really gives a shit about enforcing, lol. As long as you were paying for the time spent in his establishment, I don’t see what his problem could be other than bein a real douche.

That, and most publisher/developers are actually happy to see tournaments for their games (except ActiBlizz, because they want to be the only one to make money off it).