TIME legal

Here’s How Celebs Can Get Their Nude Selfies Taken Down

Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" Party - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Jennifer Lawrence attends Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" party at a private villa on May 17, 2014 in Cannes, France. David M. Benett—;Getty Images for Lionsgate

The answer lies in copyright law

Imagine having nude images of yourself — images you believed to be private — shared against your will with millions of people around the Internet. It’s a pretty terrible feeling, and it’s exactly what happened to dozens of celebrities, from Jennifer Lawrence to Kirstin Dunst, who fell victim to a hacker who accessed their private cloud storage accounts and raided their contents.

Some of the celebrities, like Lawrence, have pledged to go after whoever’s responsible for the privacy violation. While the hacker remains unidentified, the victims have at least one weapon to try and stop the images from spreading any further: Copyright law.

Here’s how that could work: In the United States, copyrights on photos are granted to whomever took the image. Since so many of the stolen images are reportedly selfies, that means the women in the images took the photos themselves — and, therefore, they get the copyright on them.

Some background: In 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which toughened penalties for online copyright violators. Crucially, the DMCA introduced what’s called a “Safe Harbor” provision for online platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and others (though they weren’t around at the time). The Safe Harbor deal is this: Sites like YouTube don’t need to pre-check the content their users upload for copyright violations, but they do have to respond to what’s called a takedown notice. Copyright holders can file those notices to websites they believe are illegally hosting their copyrighted content, and the Facebooks, YouTubes and Reddits of the world then have to go and see if the copyright holder’s claim is legit — and if it is, they have to ditch the content.

Takedown notices have gotten increasingly popular over the last four years; people are now filing millions more to Google alone compared to just a few years ago, for example. Such notices are “very effective,” said Aram Sinnreich, an assistant professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, “because otherwise the sites can be found as contributorily liable to copyright infringement, and that can run into the millions of dollars.”

So what Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst or any of the other hacking victims could do is file a DMCA takedown notice while they fill out the paperwork for a formal copyright on their photos, assuming they took the images of themselves. If their takedown notices are ignored, they can then sue the sites in question for copyright violation.

Such a move could be a “smart strategy,” said Danielle Citron, a professor of law at the University of Maryland who’s working on a book about online hate crimes. But fighting this fire through DMCA is akin to playing digital whack-a-mole: Knock the images off one site that was hosting them, and they’ll appear on another. “[The victims] might be outpaced by the scale at which this stuff spreads,” Citron added.

DMCA takedowns have other weaknesses, too: Sites hosted in countries with less stringent copyright laws won’t feel the same pressure to respond to them, Sinnreich said. So the celebrities probably won’t have any luck getting their private images off websites hosted in Cambodia, for example, a country that’s not party to the international treaty on which the DMCA is based. And the copyright strategy won’t work for the women who didn’t take the photos and can’t get the copyright from whoever did.

Still, Citron believes the incident is an opportunity to raise awareness about women having their private images spread widely around the Internet against their will, which happens daily but doesn’t always grab headlines.

“This is the perfect example of a case in which we should grab the public’s attention,” said Citron. “I’ve been writing about this since 2007. And nude photos are just one form of online harassment, and everyone just kind of shrugs their shoulders and blame the victims, ‘you stupidly shared it,’ or ‘you got hacked,’ or ‘you shouldn’t have been taking these photos in the first place.’ And now the cultural consensus is . . . we’re not shrugging our shoulders, and we think this is a really bad thing. So I think this is a terrific moment in which we’re getting people to really see the problem for what it is.”

TIME legal

Airbnb Hands Over Data on 124 Hosts in New York City to the Authorities

Airbnb'S Value Estimated At $10 Billion After New Round Of Investments
The Airbnb app is displayed on a smartphone on April 21, 2014 in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The New York attorney general is seeking those who “flagrantly" misused the online platform

Airbnb has announced that it is handing over the personal information of 124 past and present hosts to the New York attorney general.

The online accommodation company said on Friday that the vast majority of the hosts were no longer on its site and the total is “far less than 1%” of its hosting community in the Big Apple.

“Nothing about these hosting profiles suggests [the attorney general] is after anyone but individuals who may be flagrantly misusing our platform,” said David Hantman, head of global policy for Airbnb, in a blog post on Friday.

The New York City battle for user information began last year. Attorney general Eric Schneiderman sent the first subpoena in October, requesting data on Airbnb’s hosts for the previous three years. Airbnb resisted but also reiterated its commitment to cooperate with authorities and eliminate illegal hotels and guesthouses. The San Francisco–based company then wiped out more than 2,000 listings in April.

The recent release of personal data followed the New York attorney general’s second subpoena for hosts’ information in May. Airbnb agreed to hand over “anonymized data” for about 16,000 hosts in New York. The office of the attorney general would then have a year to review the information and draft a list of individuals who are subject to further investigation. This means it’s possible that additional requests for user information are made in the months to come.

Airbnb says it has already contacted the 124 hosts concerned about the matter.

TIME legal

FCC Extends Net Neutrality Deadline After Website Crashes

Protesters hold a rally before the FCC meeting on net neutrality proposal in Washington, DC.
Protesters march past the FCC headquarters before the Commission meeting on net neutrality proposal on May, 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Bill O'Leary—Washington Post/Getty Images

Unable to file complaints online, protesters prepared to deliver their complaints in person

The Federal Communications Commission has extended a deadline for comments on proposed rules governing the future of the Internet after its website buckled under the pressure of the tens of thousands of comments on the matter submitted by the public.

The FCC has received more than 700,000 public comments through its online comment forms and an email inbox set up to handle the high number of messages. The website crashed on Tuesday, several hours before the public comment period was scheduled to close at midnight. The FCC announced that it would extend the comment deadline to Friday at midnight to accommodate the surge of last minute filings.

“Not surprisingly, we have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic in our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments through our Electronic Filing System,” the FCC said in a statement.

Before the deadline changed, a consortium of net neutrality proponents, including the ACLU, DailyKos, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MoveOn, called on supporters to hand deliver “hundreds of thousands” of printed complaints to the FCC, which they plan to do Tuesday.

The proposed rules at the center of the debate may allow Internet providers to charge content providers, such as YouTube or Netflix, for access to higher quality connections. Detractors fear such a move would divide the Internet between “fast lanes” and “slow lanes,” enabling deep-pocketed content providers to pay for better service.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the objections “flat-out wrong.” Nonetheless, he welcomed the flood of public feedback. A second round of public comments, in which people will be invited to respond to the first wave of comments, will begin on a yet-unannounced date.

“Keep your input coming” Wheeler recently tweeted as the number of comments neared 650,000.

TIME legal

California Town that Banned Pinball 80 Years Ago Will Finally Legalize It

Three year old Xandro from Eindhoven, Th
AFP / Getty Images

The ban hadn't been enforced in decades, but it's still on the books.

And here you thought games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto had it rough: 80 years ago, pinball — yes, pinball — was a seedy, controversial business. So controversial that thousands of U.S. cities passed laws making pinball machines illegal, including Oakland, California, where you might be surprised to find the game remains a criminal matter on the books to this day.

That’s about to change, says the San Francisco Chronicle, which writes that Oakland is set to formally un-ban pinball at last, though it’ll be seen as a symbolic move: pinball machines are alive and well across the city, notes the Chronicle, and the ban hasn’t been enforced for decades.

Pinball machines (sans flippers — a later invention) were manufactured in the 1930s, installed in bars and called “pay-outs,” because that’s what they did, delivering cash to lucky players a bit like someone hitting the jackpot after pulling the handle on a slot machine. That’s all you did at the time: pull the plunger and cross your fingers. If you won, you’d collect your winnings from whomever ran the establishment. And that slot machine-like angle was enough to worry politicians and get pinball banned across the country.

“Yes, there was a certain amount of skill involved, but basically the law looked at it as a gambling device,” Eddie Adlum, publisher of RePlay Magazine, told Steven Kent in Kent’s The Ultimate History of Video Games. “Pay-outs started out legally in many states and eventually ended up being operated mostly illegally in places where the police would look the other way, such as New Orleans. They were nickel games, by the way. They paid off in nickels. So it was a little gamble, but nevertheless it was gambling.”

Oakland’s city council will meet this week to reverse the law as part of an overall reexamination of gambling in the city, though that reversal will include a new ban on slot-machine-like Internet sweepstakes cafes, which — like those early versions of pinball — are essentially games of chance.


Judges With Daughters More Likely to Rule in Favor of Women’s Rights

The "daughters effect" is actually real

Judges with daughters are more likely to make feminist-leaning decisions than judges who only have boys, according to new research out of Harvard.

The researchers found that judges who have one daughter are 7-9% more likely to decide in favor of women’s rights than judges with no girls. And that likelihood doesn’t increase with any additional daughters– one girl is enough to sway a judge. The researchers also found evidence that the so-called “daughter effect” matters most on judges who would ordinarily be more conservative.

Only daughters are especially persuasive. Among judges who only have one child, those who have a daughter are 16% more likely to vote in a feminist direction.

Here’s one other interesting side note — apparently liberals are more likely to keep having children until they have a girl, while conservatives are often content with just boys. This could suggest that a judge that has a daughter might be more liberal leaning in the first place.

This study is one of the first to suggest that personal relationships may influence judicial decisions as much as the judge’s own political affiliation, race, or gender. And the researchers haven’t identified a specific reason for the “daughter effect,” but it seems pretty clear; judges who have daughters probably want to make the world a better place for women. Mazel Tov.

TIME legal

PR Firms Vow They Won’t Try to Game Wikipedia

Updated 6:08 p.m.

Public relations firms and Wikipedia’s team of volunteer editors reached a truce Tuesday in their ongoing battle over who has the right to edit entries in the online encyclopedia. In a statement today, 11 large PR and advertising agencies vowed to abide by Wikipedia’s rules, which ban ad teams from editing articles for pay or trying to influence the tone of articles without disclosing their affiliation with a client.

“We recognize Wikipedia’s unique and important role as a public knowledge resource,” reads the statement, published on Wikipedia. “We also acknowledge that the prior actions of some in our industry have led to a challenging relationship with the community of Wikipedia editors. Our firms believe that it is in the best interest of our industry, and Wikipedia users at large, that Wikipedia fulfill its mission of developing an accurate and objective online encyclopedia. Therefore, it is wise for communications professionals to follow Wikipedia policies as part of ethical engagement practices.”

The statement, signed by Ogilvy & Mather, Edelman and Porter Novelli, among others, comes after a significant outcry from Wikipedia users and administrators over the actions of PR firms on the site. Wikipedia categorizes accepting pay to change the content of an article as a black hat (i.e. unethical) activity that is one of the most serious violations of the site’s rules. Last fall, the Wikimedia Foundation, the parent organization of Wikipedia, condemned a PR organization that it said was setting up hundreds of dummy accounts to edit clients’ content.

The PR firms who made the joint statement are now trying to distance themselves from such activity. “I believe that public relations people who engage in ethical practice have a lot to contribute to the great public resource that is Wikipedia,” Edelman Senior Vice President Phil Gomes wrote in a blog post. “This is the start of an industry-wide commitment.”

The Wikimedia Foundation expressed cautious optimism for the PR firms’ promise. “Any approach that is rooted in respecting the Wikimedia Foundation’s Terms of Use, the policies of the communities and projects, and making a commitment to open and transparent dialogue is a good step for any group interested in working with Wikipedia,” spokesman Jay Walsh said in an email. “It will ultimately be the community of Wikipedians who engage in a dialog about this proposal, and they may have different views about how well this could work out.”

Specifically, the PR firms have agreed to follow all of Wikipedia’s guidelines, investigate allegations of unethical editing of articles within their own firms, counsel other PR firms to behave similarly and open a dialogue with Wikipedia’s legion of editors. PR professionals that want to see a change made to an article are advised to advocate for it on an article’s discussion page instead of making the edits themselves.


TIME legal

Net Neutrality: FCC Boss Smacked by Tech Giants, Internal Dissent

Tom Wheeler FCC Chairman
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, listens during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington on Dec. 12, 2013 Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler faces mounting opposition to his proposed net neutrality rules as more than 100 Internet companies sent a letter expressing alarm over the direction laid out ahead of next week's vote and imploring regulators to protect the web's openness

More than 100 Internet companies sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday expressing alarm over the agency’s proposed net neutrality rules, and imploring regulators to protect Internet openness.

The letter, which was signed by many of the largest Internet firms in Silicon Valley, was delivered as two FCC commissioners expressed doubts about the direction laid out by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the former top cable and wireless industry lobbyist who is spearheading the new rules.

One of the commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel, said in a speech on Wednesday she has “real concerns” about Wheeler’s plan, and called for the FCC to delay next week’s crucial agency vote on the matter. Hours later, a FCC spokesperson told TIME that the vote remains on the agency’s schedule for next week.

Taken together, the tech companies’ letter and the highly unusual public display of dissent by Rosenworcel and her FCC colleague Mignon Clyburn, amount to the strongest pushback since Wheeler floated his proposal two weeks ago, sparking outrage among net neutrality advocates.

The FCC’s Internet governance policies have been in limbo since a federal court struck down most of the agency’s 2010 Open Internet order in January. That order prohibited broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking traffic like Skype or Netflix on wired networks or putting them into an Internet “slow lane.”

Wheeler’s new proposal would allow broadband providers to strike special deals with Internet companies for preferential treatment — sometimes called “paid prioritization” — in the “last mile” to consumers’ homes. Open Internet advocates have long considered such Internet “fast lanes” to be anathema to net neutrality principles because they would give deep-pocketed companies an advantage over startups.

“According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them,” the tech companies wrote in their letter. “If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.”

The letter’s signatories include Amazon, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and Yahoo, along with dozens of Internet startups.

Wheeler faces opposition from Internet giants and startups, but he also faces increasing internal static from his fellow Democratic FCC commissioners.

“I have real concerns about FCC Chairman Wheeler’s proposal on network neutrality,” Commissioner Rosenworcel said in a speech on Wednesday. She urged the agency to delay next week’s vote on the rules by at least a month. “I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his proposal.”

In response to Rosenworcel’s comments, the FCC issued a statement reiterating Wheeler’s plan to hold the vote next week. “Moving forward will allow the American people to review and comment on the proposed plan without delay, and bring us one step closer to putting rules on the books to protect consumers and entrepreneurs online,” the spokesperson said.

Wheeler’s plan would allow companies to strike paid prioritization deals as long as they acted in a “commercially reasonable manner subject to review on a case-by-case basis.” Wheeler has not defined what type of agreement would be considered commercially reasonable, but even if he does, it’s unlikely that most net neutrality advocates would support the plan.

“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent,” the tech companies wrote in their letter.

In a speech last week, Wheeler strongly disputed the notion that his plan would undermine net neutrality and declared that “reports that we are gutting the Open Internet rules are incorrect.”

In the wake of the January federal court ruling striking down the FCC’s Open Internet order, many net neutrality advocates called for the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service subject to the common carrier provisions of the Communications Act.

Such a move would restore the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality, but it also would prompt a major backlash from broadband giants like AT&T and Verizon — which bitterly oppose reclassification — and their lobbyists and allies on Capitol Hill. In his speech, Wheeler reiterated his current opposition to reclassification, but said the option remains on the table.

Meanwhile, another FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, said the agency should take advantage of the January court defeat to take a “fresh look and evaluate our policy in light of the many developments that have occurred over the last four years.”

“There is no doubt that preserving and maintaining a free and open Internet is fundamental to the core values of our democratic society, and I have an unwavering commitment to its independence,” Clyburn wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “My mind remains open as I continue to evaluate how best to promote these fundamental, core values.”

Next week’s planned vote would not enshrine the new rules, it would only approve what’s called a “notice of proposed rulemaking” (NPRM), and make the draft proposal available for public review and comment. If Wheeler does not feel he has the three out of five votes needed to approve the NPRM, he has the power to postpone the vote until the FCC’s next meeting.

Net neutrality advocates hailed the mounting opposition to Wheeler’s proposal.

“The cracks are beginning to show in Chairman Wheeler’s plan that would undermine Net Neutrality,” Craig Aaron, president and CEO of D.C. based public interest group Free Press, said in a statement. “The more people learn about this proposal, the more skeptical they become. That list of skeptics now includes two Democratic commissioners who have taken the unusual step of questioning the Democratic chairman’s approach.”

“We’re encouraged that both Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel are responding to the millions of emails and thousands of phone calls from people demanding real Net Neutrality,” Aaron added. “It’s time the agency took the most sensible next step and reclassified Internet service providers as common carriers. That’s the only reasonable way to ensure an open Internet for everyone.”

TIME legal

Oculus Calls ZeniMax’s Allegations of Theft False, Disappointing and Not Surprising

Oculus VR just sent across an email outlining in seven points what it views as ZeniMax's specious claims about Doom-creator John Carmack and Oculus' virtual reality technology.

Last week, ZeniMax accused Oculus VR Chief Technology Officer (and former id Software Doom mastermind) John Carmack of taking “proprietary technology and know-how” with him when he departed the Rockville, Maryland-based Elder Scrolls and Dishonored publisher for a job with Oculus.

Oculus’ response at the time was terse and absolute: “It’s unfortunate, but when there’s this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims,” an Oculus VR representative told the Wall Street Journal. “We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent.”

Here’s a bit more of that defense, breaking this morning, with Oculus writing in an email to the media that it’s “disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax’s actions” and promising to “prove that all of its claims are false.”

The following list of points was also provided by Oculus in the email:

  • There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.
  • John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from Zenimax.
  • Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed.
  • A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company.
  • Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus.
  • Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers.
  • Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online (developer.oculusvr.com), Zenimax has never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology.


MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

TIME Technologizer

An Apple-Samsung Patent Battle Ends with a Whimper

General Samsung And Apple Products Images
An iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S III, as photographed in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 SeongJoon Cho / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Who's the winner here? Not consumers. And probably neither Apple nor Samsung

The latest news in the Apple-Samsung patent saga came down Friday afternoon in a California court, when a jury ruled that Samsung had violated two of five software Apple patents. Additionally, it ruled that Apple had violated one of two Samsung patents, but not willfully.

Apple had been seeking $2.2 billion in damages, but the jury awarded just $119.6 million. It also awarded Samsung $158,400. A the time of writing, there’s some confusion over one Samsung product that was found to infringe an Apple patent, but which the jury didn’t award damages for.

There’s nothing decisive about that outcome, but presumably Apple regards Samsung as having gotten off easy, and Samsung is relieved. The Korean company was cleared on three out of the five patents and owes Apple an amount that is–by gigantic electronics manufacturer standards–peanuts. (Two years ago, Apple was awarded a more imposing $930 million over a different set of design-related patents.)

For Apple, the battle isn’t just against Samsung, and it’s not just about money. Steve Jobs was so irate over the degree to which Google’s Android operating system mimicked Apple’s iPhone software that he famously said he was willing to go thermonuclear over it. So far, neither Samsung nor Android seems to have been blasted back into the pre-iPhone stone age. Still, Apple’s suits–and the scads of other ones between an array of patent holders that have followed it–may have left everybody involved at least slightly more cautious about treading on other companies’ intellectual property.

For instance, the products Samsung has released since Apple first filed suit haven’t been the slavish knockoffs they might have been if it had felt free to copy at will. When technology companies sue each other over patents, I generally don’t take sides. Here’s a confession, though: If both Apple and Samsung end up regretting this whole process, it wouldn’t pain me.

Court battles like this are expensive distractions that only sap attention and resources better put to building the best possible products. That makes them bad for consumers. They can be bad for the companies involved, too, if it dulls their competitive edge. Exhibit A: Polaroid’s legendary suit against Kodak over instant photography–which ended in both a legal and moral victory for Polaroid, but didn’t do a thing to help the company prepare itself for the brave new world of photography ahead. In fact, it surely hurt, since founder Edwin Land, Polaroid’s resident genius, poured his time and intellectual capital into beating Kodak in court rather than in the marketplace. A few decades from now, when business historians look back at this period, they’ll know things we don’t yet, including how Apple and Samsung fared over the long haul.

I can’t imagine anyone will conclude that the patent tussle played a decisive role one way or another. Instead, it’ll have more to do with whether the companies stayed hungry or rested on their laurels. Which means that the sooner everyone involved puts the era of courtroom drama behind them, the better–for Apple, for Samsung and for all of us.

TIME legal

Doom Creator Accused of Stealing Virtual Reality Tech, Taking It to Oculus

Oculus VR

ZeniMax claims id Software co-founder John Carmack pilfered virtual reality tech when he quit to join Oculus VR last year, though both Carmack and Oculus are flatly denying the charges.

Well this sounds ugly, and bound to get uglier: John Carmack, the fellow gamers know best for helping birth Doom, and who left id Software last year to take a job as chief technology officer with Oculus Rift headset designer Oculus VR (who were in turn recently snatched up by Facebook for a cool $2 billion), has been accused by his former employer, ZeniMax, of purloining virtual reality secrets the games publisher claims belong to it, not Oculus VR.

ZeniMax Media, which also owns Bethesda Game Studios (The Elder Scrolls series and Fallout 3) and Arkane Studios (Dishonored) claims that Carmack was involved in “extensive VR research and development” during his tenure at ZeniMax, according to the Wall Street Journal. That, says ZeniMax, gives it dibs on “key technology used by Oculus to develop and market the Oculus Rift,” and thus the right to seek compensation.

According to the Journal, ZeniMax is staking its case on allegations that Carmack was in touch with Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey before leaving ZeniMax, that Carmack received a prototype headset from Luckey, and that he made innovations to the headset, which he then demoed during a convention.

“ZeniMax’s intellectual property rights arise by reason of extensive VR research and development works done over a number of years by John Carmack while a ZeniMax employee, and others,” writes ZeniMax in a press statement (via Engadget). “ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings.”

The statement continues:

The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax. Well before the Facebook transaction was announced, Mr. Luckey acknowledged in writing ZeniMax’s legal ownership of this intellectual property. It was further agreed that Mr. Luckey would not disclose this technology to third persons without approval. Oculus has used and exploited ZeniMax’s technology and intellectual property without authorization, compensation or credit to ZeniMax. ZeniMax and Oculus previously attempted to reach an agreement whereby ZeniMax would be compensated for its intellectual property through equity ownership in Oculus but were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution. ZeniMax believes it is necessary to address these matters now and will take the necessary action to protect its interests.

Oculus’s response? Balderdash: “It’s unfortunate, but when there’s this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims,” an Oculus VR representative told the Journal. “We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent.”

And Carmack himself has weighed in on Twitter:

That’s all we know so far, which is to say that it’s best to stay off the playing field just now in terms rallying for one side or another, since the only folks who know who’s telling (or twisting) the truth are John Carmack, ZeniMax and Oculus VR.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,500 other followers