Fantasy Stock Picking Contest Deemed by SEC to be Illegal Security-based Swaps

The SEC shut down a “fantasy” stock picking game for allegedly violating securities laws. Forcerank LLC ran contests via mobile phone games where players paid a fee and predicted the order in which 10 securities would perform relative to each other. In each week-long game, players won points based on the accuracy of their prediction, and players with the most aggregate points received cash prizes at the end of the competition.

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Building a Kick-Ass Team: 5 Lessons

As published on Medium.

My fellow moderator, Stephanie Zeppa from Sheppard Mullin, sits with, from left, AdRoll’s Aaron Bell, Floodgate’s Arjun Chopra, Cisco’s David Ulevitch and Luxe’s Curtis Lee.

My fellow moderator, Stephanie Zeppa from Sheppard Mullin, sits with, from left, AdRoll’s Aaron Bell, Floodgate’s Arjun Chopra, Cisco’s David Ulevitch and Luxe’s Curtis Lee.

Silicon Valley Bank, along with Sheppard Mullin, recently co-hosted a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs at Runway on “Building and Motivating a Kick-Ass Team.”

The combined experience of these panelists was incredible, and we heard some great advice about how to build and manage teams, which sometimes requires ignoring conventional thinking. The following are five of those suggestions.

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New Challenge to Daily Fantasy Sports in New York

A group of New York citizens backed by the anti-gambling group Stop Predatory Gambling has filed a lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo challenging the constitutionality of the bill that legalized daily fantasy sports in the state.  The lawsuit contends that the law violates the Constitution of the State of New York because a constitutional amendment is needed to legalize a new form of gambling.  This is the latest development in the ongoing legal battle over  daily fantasy sports in New York.

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Federal Circuit is In Sync with Patent’s Validity Under Section 101

The Federal Circuit overturned a District Court ruling that a patent directed to automated lip synchronization and manipulation of animated characters’ facial expressions was invalid under Section 101 as being an abstract idea. The patent disclosed that this automation is accomplished through rules that aim to produce more realistic speech by taking into consideration the differences in mouth positions for similar phonemes based on context.

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Massachusetts Becomes Ninth State to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in the Commonwealth.  Massachusetts is the ninth state to legalize daily fantasy sports, and the eighth to do so this year.  The legalization of daily fantasy sports, or “fantasy contests,” was included in a larger bill—H. 4569—related generally to job creation and workforce development.

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New York Daily Fantasy Law Passed – But Will it Stick?

As previously reported on our blog, New York enacted a law legalizing fantasy sports (subject to certain conditions and licensing). This undoubtedly makes DFS operators and players happy. But consistent with the notion that you cannot please everyone, some anti-gambling groups are not  happy. It has been reported that some are considering litigation to block implementation of the new law. Casinos are also debating potential action. As reported, critics of the new law allege the New York legislature needed to obtain a constitutional amendment process to legalize a new form of gambling, instead of making a statutory change that declared fantasy sports contests to be “games of skill.” Check back for updates as this saga continues to unfold.

Weekly Web Wrap-Up: August 15, 2016

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team.  Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:

The Gaming Industry and Cyber Crime

In the world of video-game-related crime, publishers are pushing pause on piracy concerns as the game-hacking business becomes more lucrative.  TechCruch reports on the recent developments and trends in online gaming platforms that have made the $100B gaming industry an enticing target for cybercriminals.  And it’s not just publishers; the players themselves are at risk.  Industry awareness of the issue is growing; a Panopticon Labs, a startup that quietly helps publishers root out and stop in-game theft and fraud, won a coveted spot at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

The Skin Betting Saga Continues

No, we aren’t talking about Buffalo Bill’s weekly poker night.  Skin betting is a type of online wagering using virtual cosmetic items (i.e., skins), a transaction that blurs the line between gambling and social gaming.  But the lucrative industry’s future is uncertain.  Skin betting sites have been accused of tacitly endorse gambling via secondary skin markets based on the theory that skins are a type of digital currency like bitcoin.  Valve has also clamped down on skin betting sites, sending major industry players a cease-and-desist letter that has garnered varied reactions.  CSOLounge, the world’s largest skin betting website, announced it would seek an online gambling license in response to Valve’s decision.  But whether such licensing will appease Valve—which cited Steam’s prohibition against commercial account use rather than gambling concerns—is questionable.  We’ll continue to bring you updates as this story unfolds.

Ten VR Games to Look Forward To

VR has fallen from the headlines as Pokémon Go AR continues to sweep the nation.  But lest anyone forget the breath-taking possibilities of a well-executed VR game, here’s Techradar’s round up of ten upcoming VR games that have us on the edge of our virtual seats.

This Week in Pokémon Go!

Pushing back against the handwringing and “neo-Luddite contrarianism” of many editorials, Wired brings us a refreshing perspective on the technological revolution that is upon us, and calls for an industry-wide set of ethical standards for augmented reality.  Wired’s chief concerns? Pokéstalking and pursuit of Pokéquality.  Pokéthics is a concern of Ninantic as well.  After temporarily pausing some game features due to server outages caused by GPS spoofing, Niantic has permanently banned hackers from the game.  Niantic is also trialing a new update, and it looks Charizard hot.  The update will include a new tracking system and an XP fix, brings back power-saving mode, and adjusts curveball accuracy.  Having trouble catching those elusive Pokémon?  For a better Chansey, here are some tips for throwing Pokéballs.

AR Continues to Heat Up: Chinese Tech Giant Baidu Rolls out AR Platform for Mass Consumption

If the success of Pokémon Go is any indication, common smartphones—rather than computer headsets—may be the just technology platform needed to move AR into the mainstream.  Chinese search-engine operator Baidu has made that wager.  At its Beijing conference, Baidu debuted DuSee, its new AR platform for smartphones.  DuSee allow users to interact with computer-generated visual via their smart phones.

Compilation of Public Data Can be Trade Secret

A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision confirmed that data derived from a compilation of publicly available information can constitute a protectable trade secret, particularly when a proprietary process is used to compile or search that information.

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