There’s An App For That

By Mira Soni

Last Wednesday, Milwaukee County filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by video gaming company Candy Lab in April.

Candy Lab filed a complaint against Milwaukee County about a county ordinance requiring all augmented reality video game developers to obtain permits before the games can be played in public parks. Augmented reality games, such as Candy Lab’s new “Texas Rope ‘Em” and the briefly but fanatically popular “Pokemon Go”, involve virtual images transmitted over live smartphone video. Candy Lab’s complaint argued that the county ordinance inhibits the free speech of video game developers on the basis of content and is unconstitutionally vague.

In the motion filed last week, Milwaukee County argued that Texas Rope ‘Em is not protected by the First Amendment because it does not convey any messages ideas, plot, storylines, characters, or dialogue. Therefore, the county argues, the claim filed by Candy Lab is invalid: the First Amendment cannot be invoked in a complaint if the item in question has no First Amendment protection. There is no Supreme Court decision on the status of augmented-reality video games under the First Amendment.

Candy Lab is seeking an injunction against the enforcement of the county ordinance, a declaratory judgement that the ordinance is in violation of the First Amendment, and damages.

Additional Sources: 

Does First Amendment Protect Augmented Reality Games Like Pokemon Go? (American Bar Association Journal)

Game company sues Milwaukee over permit requirement for developing Pokemon Go-type games (Chicago Tribune)

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