Pokemon Go meets the law: What are the developers liable for?

- Pokemon Go is the first super popular augmented reality app, so there are a lot of legal issues surrounding it that aren't resolved.

Fox 9 sat down with intellectual property attorney Brent Lorentz of Winthrop & Weinstine in Minneapolis.

With so many people walking around trying to capture new Pokemon, the first issue is trespassing. If a person trespasses, they can get in trouble, but what about the maker of the app?

“They try and wipe out any liability they would have in the user agreement,” said Lorentz. “But what you can't waive liability for is reckless or intentional conduct. So if you're the game developer and you know this game is putting Pokemon in inappropriate places, and you do nothing to remedy it, there's at least a theoretical possibility the game developer could be liable for those crimes.”

A much more serious concern is getting hurt or killed while playing Pokemon Go, like falling off a waterfall. For example, two men fell off a clip while playing in California.

“They put liability waivers and disclaimers in their user agreement. But under California law, which is the law that governs this agreement, you can't waive gross negligence or recklessness claims or intentional conduct,” said Lorentz.

Lorentz brings up another point: having the Pokemon Go app open on your phone means the developer probably knows your exact location.

“The biggest tip is know what you're getting yourself into,” said Lorentz.
 

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