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Property owners sue over Pokemon Go

Detroit-area couple says they don't feel safe as players loiter, trespass, harass home owners near in-game hotspots

The popularity of Pokemon Go continues to raise legal questions for location-based gaming. A St. Clair Shores, Michigan couple has filed suit against Nintendo, Niantic, and The Pokemon Company, seeking to prevent the companies from placing Pokestops and other in-game items on or near private property, according to a Detroit Free Press report.

The couple lives across the street from Wahby Park, a St. Clair Shores public park that hosts a Pokemon Gym and seven Pokestops. As a result, they say their quiet neighborhood has been overrun with players whose behavior has included peeking in their windows and swearing at them.

"Nobody gets sleep anymore," the lawsuit is quoted as saying. "How is this acceptable? ... They hang out on our lawns, trample landscaping, look in vehicles... We don't feel safe... I don't feel safe sitting on our porch."

The suit notes that Niantic is aware it places in-game hotspots on private property, but feels its solution to the issue--telling players not to worry because there will be more Pokestops around the corner--is insufficient. They're seeking to prohibit the company from placing hotspots near private property without the owners' permission, and to require them to share profits of the game with property owners whose neighborhoods they have been populating with in-game items.

The issue of where in-game hotspots can and cannot be placed is also at the heart of a proposed New York law. That legislation would require any company running a game like Pokemon Go to ensure that no in-game objectives could be placed within 100 feet of a registered sex offender's residence. A sister bill would also make it illegal for registered sex offenders to play "augmented reality games," a category it defines as essentially being location-based games.

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Latest comments (8)

Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, GameLoft5 months ago
Is it possible to forbid something NEAR private property? Can you claim a share in the profits from something happening NEAR private property?
Clearly the issue here is not safety, it's people doing whatever is possible to get their hands on some easy money, as it is almost every case of lawsuit nowadays...
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada5 months ago
/facepalm
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 5 months ago
I hope they win, as this will make sure developers just don't push out a game like this without making sure something like this doesn't happen. When you develop a game that uses spots in the real world you obligate yourself of making sure those spots aren't dangerous or are well suited for a lot of people gathering.. If it's too difficult to make sure everything is safe, than it's your responsibility NOT to release it until you can make sure it is.. Developers just think about their moneygrabbing app and not about the consequences it might have on other people..
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Show all comments (8)
Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 months ago
So will the removal of the Pokestops near their home make them feel safe again or will an influx of cash due to profit sharing make them feel safe again?
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 5 months ago
"Those darn kids sitting inside all day on their video games! They should go outside more!"
"Those darn kids being outside all day on their video games! They should go inside more!"
Ridiculous.

How is this pokemon go's fault when all of the pokestops are in publicly accessible areas and all pokemon spawn close enough to roads that you never have to trespass to catch something?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Watson on 17th August 2016 11:42pm

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Connor Martin Aspiring game designer/tester 5 months ago
They used their last game to decide where the pokestops are, using the portals people set-up in their game Ingress to decide where these pokestops were. This is why there are so many churches and there are pokestops in inappropriate places, Ingress never needed you to go there, only to find remarkable locations to use as portals. This is largely Niantics fault for not understanding how these locales would be approached in Pokemon Go, with the rest of the fault on stupid players getting closer than necessary to interact with them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Connor Martin on 19th August 2016 12:58pm

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments5 months ago
"Ingress never needed you to go there"

Pretty sure ingress requires you to be close to locations to interact, same as pokemon go?
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games5 months ago
The "Get Off My Lawn" law suit.
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