April 15th, 2006

Wisconsin Moves Closer to Game Developer Tax Break

In Wisconsin the phrase "gimme a break" now means something to game developers.

In January, Game Politics noted that digital-savvy Wisconsin legislators were proposing competitive tax breaks and additional business incentives in order to attract game developers and other creative industries to the state. Ironically, at the same time, another legislator was pushing a bill to regulate games sales to minors.

Last week the Journal Times reported that the Wisconsin legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed the tax-incentive package which covers the film, television, commercial, and video game industries. The committee voted 15-1 in favor of the bill. A decisive floor vote will take place later this month.

Major backers of the tax break bill include Republican co-sponsors Sen. Ted Kanavas and Rep. Curt Gielow, as well as Democratic Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.

MV: You won't find many who are against this bill here in Wisconsin, primarily due to starry-eyed residents who love big media and its deep pocketbook. Local revenues were recently cited in upwards of $20 million for the film Mr. 3000, which was only partially filmed in Wisconsin. The bottom line for game developers? Bring your company to Wisconsin. You'll eat more cheese and pay less taxes.

-Reporting from Wisconsin, GP Correspondent Monica "Daemonchild" Valentinelli.

"Pixelante" - A Name For the Ages is Born

Did you get your Pixelante shirt yet? What are you waiting for? The shirts are fab and all proceeds support a truly worthy cause, the Get-Well Gamers Foundation.

In case you're wondering about the origin of the term "pixelante," the word was actually introduced right here on GamePolitics by Jack Thompson. The date was September 10th, 2005. Our pal from Miami, annoyed by something that GP wrote or said or did or thought, vowed that he would no longer be visiting GamePolitics (if only that were true). You can view his entire post here. It's classic Thompson:

"I should hereby like to say hasta luego to all my close, personal friends here at GamePolitics... I shall return to be your personal pinata sometime in the medium future, most likely to gloat about yet another triumph in the ongoing culture war.."

"In the meantime, I should like to leave all of you dear, cordial folks with a word I coined today, which describes most of the little hellions who people gaming sites, play games, and who engage in anonymous, cowardly attacks upon anyone with sense..."

"So, here's the word that describes all of those who have decided to allow the massive corporations that make 'games' to steal your time and your virtue. You are the horde who have chosen to let the Paul Eibelers and the Bill Gateses and the post-Hiroshima crowd in Japan mentally molest you minors for money, stealing your souls and robbing your futures."

"You are PIXELANTES. The term fits. You are vigilantes without a cause. A lawless group of misfits whose only reality is false, composed of electron-created images that construct a world that feels like hyper-reality, yet has no substance and no meaning..."

"I pity you, but I oppose you. You pixelantes adhere to your fake world with religious fervor, yet there is no god in this religion. Just an altar on which sits your autostimulated egos. Masturbatory manna...

Masturbatory manna... vigilantes without a cause... personal pinata... little hellions... Ah, the man was in rare form that night. And hey - if this made you chuckle, buy a Pixelante shirt - it's for charity!!!

Arrrrrrr... A Game Pirate Be Sighted Down Under

Is Australia beyond the reach of the long arm of U.S. copyright law?

We may soon find out.

Australian IT reports that an Aussie who allegedly served as co-leader "Bandido" of the notorious DrinkOrDie warez network is being sought by the U.S. Justice Department on a 2003 software piracy indictment.

Hew Raymond Griffiths, 43 (pictured), incarcerated since 2004, faces extradition after losing his final appeal at the High Court of Australia in September. The decision on whether or not Griffiths will be given over to U.S. authorities now rests with Senator Chris Ellison, Australia's Federal Justice Minister. Should he be extradited, Griffiths will be charged with copyright piracy and could face a 10-year jail term, coupled with a US$500,000 fine.

The suspected pirate is the first foreign national the U.S. has attempted to extradite for online piracy. Several other DrinkOrDie members were convicted in their home countries, including Sweden, Finland, Norway and the U.K.

As Sen. Ellison mulls Griffiths' fate, he will be weighing arguments from the Australian Attorney General as well as Griffiths himself. The case is quite predictably bringing attention to Australia's extradition statutes. If he's turned over, Griffiths will find himself dealing with the complexities of the U.S. legal system, according to Douglass McNabb, a Washington, D.C. attorney whose firm specializes in high-profile fraud cases.

"The U.S. Marshals will come and get him and he will be handcuffed and chained at the waist for security reasons," said McNabb. "When he gets to the States he will be placed in very constrained detention facilities. He'll get a bail hearing, and he'll lose it because he'll be considered a flight risk."
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