What Are the Legal Issues Surrounding Pokémon Go

The new phone app Pokémon Go is a hit and has teenagers as well as grown adults running around cities and towns searching for their next Pikachu. However, there are many legal considerations if you are playing the game and even more if you are a business that decides to pay to have a Pokemon at your business.

Photo Credit: 123rf Marc Bruxelle
Photo Credit: 123rf Marc Bruxelle
  1. Privacy – like many games and apps on the internet, know that you are giving away your location and other information when you sign on and use the app. In addition, according to LawNewz the games terms of service disclaim liability for property damage, personal injury or death while playing the game. However, if you are a business that might not apply to you. And, if you sign on with a gmail account you may have given the company broad permissions, including the ability to read your emails.
  2. Business liability – if you pay to have a Pokemon character at your business are you responsible for overcrowding? What if someone is injured at your business while searching for the character? The game has a disclaimer, but that does not extend to businesses who use the game for marketing purposes.
  3. Illegal is illegal – what I mean by this is, just because you are playing a game doesn’t mean you can break other laws like trespassing. In addition, if you are driving and looking for a character on your phone, the police are probably not going to be forgiving.

If you are like me, you look at this and think most of this is common sense, but already in the name of playing the game people have been stabbed, trespassed and generally caused a public nuisance. It’s worth remembering that while a ‘virtual reality’ may be fun – you can’t forget what and where reality really is.

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