Pokémon GO Lawsuit Settlement Might Lead To Some Pokéstops And Gyms Being Removed

Pokémon GO creator Niantic is looking to end a lawsuit that was first started back in 2016, during the height of Pokémon GO’s popularity. The suit was filed by numerous homeowners who believed the company had caused players to trespass onto their property to catch Pokémon or activate Pokéstops.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, The homeowners are proposing a settlement, which if accepted by a judge in California, would force Niantic to implement new features and restrictions into the popular mobile game.

The features are listed below.

  • Upon complaints of nuisance or trespass and demands of the removal of a “PokéStop” or “Gym,” the company will make commercially reasonable efforts to resolve the complaint and communicate a resolution within 15 days.

  • Owners of single-family residential properties get rights of removal within 40 meters of their properties.

  • Niantic will maintain a database of complaints in an attempt to avoid poor placement of these virtual creatures.

  • When Niantic’s system detects a raid of more than 10 players congregating, a warning message will appear on their screens reminding them to be courteous and respectful of surroundings.

  • Niantic is also working with user-reviewers and mapping services like Google Maps to also mitigate any problems plus maintaining a mechanism so that park authorities can request a park’s hours of operation be honored.

  • At the company’s expense, Niantic will have an independent firm audit compliance with obligations during a three-year period.

The lawsuit dates back to 2016, when some residents were angered by hundreds of players walking around their private property or near their home or condo. Some residents in Villas of Positano condos, located in Florida, described players as “...zombies, walking around bumping into things.”

The case is interesting because it could change the definition of trespassing in the digital era. Is a company, like Niantic, at fault for placing digital items in private locations? How much responsibility should a company face for their players attempting to get these digital items and in doing so breaking the law?

For now, it seems Niantic and the homeowners affected by the game will settle soon. If the settlement is accepted by the judge, named plaintiffs in the lawsuit will receive $US1,000 each.


Comments

    So people chose to live next to a park/landmark but don't want people near their house?

    These settlement terms are bullshit and I'd really like to hope Niantic don't agree to them although their history of completely caving to random public fear/outrage (can't play the game over a very slow walking pace for example) suggests they will...

    Last edited 18/02/19 8:34 am

    Owners of single-family residential properties get rights of removal within 40 meters of their properties.

    So people chose to live next to a park/landmark but don't want people near their house?

    These settlement terms are bullshit and I'd really like to hope Niantic don't agree to them although their history of completely caving to random public fear/outrage (can't play the game over a very slow walking pace for example) suggests they will...

    (Repost attempt 3? Editing/reposting still isn't fun)

      If it was just people going near their house it wouldn't be an issue. It's because people are entering their property.

        That's fair although I stand by the blame for things like that should be put on the players involved rather than Niantic (and by extension, the entire playerbase) unless of course Niantic are actually putting stops/gyms on private property but that's not related to the bit I quoted - within 40 meters of properties (i.e. not on the property itself).

        Last edited 18/02/19 2:41 pm

        As someone how was fairly involved in Ingress and actually submitting portals/pokestop locations, they were ruthless about biggest rule - no private residential property. Someone with an amazing statue postbox that is a local tourist attraction? Not allowed because it's on the edge of private residential property.

        I bet these are people that somehow managed to scam a couch portal in Ingress and are now reaping their rewards.

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