Legal issues with fully paid anomalies

Some further comments based on what is being discussed privately.

Previous anomalies were free with some swag on the side. All good, you're simply buying swag.

By making it a paid event you are creating a commercial contract with the participants. In many jurisdictions, a paid event has all sorts of regulatory requirements. In Australia that includes providing water, doing a risk assessment, city council approval (including paying fees that do not apply for volunteer events), police approval, public liability insurance for attendees and volunteers, etc.

Similar laws apply in many other countries.

Niantic has been playing fast and loose with local regulations. I think they need to address this ASAP. Otherwise there is a chance the local authorities can stop the event.



  • SoylentGrienSoylentGrien ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    Plus there are other legal liabilities. If people have paid for the event and for some reason it does not run, the volunteer POCs can get sued if there are quantifiable damages. Will Niantic indemnify the volunteers?

  • By which jurisdiction should the volunteers be responsible for anything? You buy your ticket at Nia and have no contract with the POCs

  • P2063P2063 ✭✭✭

    iirc, we didn't "register" to our names, for obvious liability reasons. we only informed the authorities "there is a public event organised by a company called niantic with xyz people attending"

  • starwortstarwort ✭✭✭✭✭

    My guess is there is probably a legal loophole in that players without a paid ticket can still take part in the event. What you are paying for is the medal, the 2x AP and the email of your statistics after the event.

    Of course one of the Anomaly's scoring methods (the unique hack count) depends on agents who are registered; but the rest don't (portals owned, link paths, etc). So it may be a grey area.

  • Unsure about that. You cannot participate in the event, you are a spectator,

  • The description of the ticket states that the ticket includes that your actions are counting for the anomaly Score this also means If you don't have it it doesn't count so you don't really take part.

    I think we will know what is the case once cities will start requesting the fees for paid Events.

  • starwortstarwort ✭✭✭✭✭

    From the announcement:

    Agents will still be able to participate in an Ingress Anomaly without purchasing a ticket; however, they will not receive an Anomaly medal and their scores may not be included in Faction totals.

    Agents will still be able to participate without a ticket. It says so right there.

    Agent scores may (whatever "may" means) not be included in Faction totals. But that only matters for an Anomaly game where individual agent scores are counted. For any game that depends on Portals, a non-ticketed agent can certainly make a difference to the score.

    Scoring methods that I am aware of from previous anomalies:

    • number of unique hacks per agent
    • number of media sets collected
    • number of portals owned by each faction
    • number or size or length of links and/or fields within the anomaly zone
    • number of shards captured

    Only the first two here are per-agent scores; the rest are measured from the game arena, and any non-ticketed agent could help with them. But also, if a non-ticketed agent hacks media, they can easily give them to a registered agent, so that too is a game that non-ticketed agents can help with. Therefore only the first point above is one where your Anomaly ticket actually matters.

    (Now I don't have any inside information and I realise that I'm reading between the lines to infer the above information, so I may not be 100% right. But the clues are there, and this is the only sensible way to interpret the official guidance that "agents will still be able to participate".)

  • "Niantic has been playing fast and loose with local regulations. I think they need to address this ASAP. Otherwise there is a chance the local authorities can stop the event."

    This is a VERY California mentality.

    I love Ingress, it has been so fun, and the latest improvements to prime are making it 95% usable for me, which is a huge jump. but if they **** off Anomaly play by assuming the world is California. How many players are going to be left??

  • Given Niantic has a legal department, how about we leave the legality side to them....

  • Why? Seems, based purely on comments I've read today, they don't fully understand globally the respective laws that may or will apply.

    I'm being a cucumber, I know, but meh..

    The bells toll... For whom the bells toll.. Or something like that. :)

  • I’d be more trusting if they hadn’t screwed this up once already — they had to refund all Vancouver swag purchases.

  • Niantic already run paid events. The Pokémon Go anomaly equivalents are paid events so they are probably familiar with what running a one means from a legal standpoint. Having said that, these events are few and far between in the same countries year on year, and for a much larger player base.

    Not sure if anomalies will even be profitable compared to all the extra expenses given how many anomalies there are, but I guess that's only something Niantic will know.

  • Given that the people making the comments don't work for Niantic, and aren't involved in things like obtaining permits (even POCs aren't responsible for that generally), if I tell you that clouds are made of marshmallows, will you believe that too?

  • Because part of the legal implications involve agents, on opposing sides. Do you believe Niantic's legal department will really value consumer rights over profit opportunity?

  • No, simple things like levies and service charges in countries that literally disallow them, that I can verify.

    Round two you male chicken?

  • GrogyanGrogyan ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    @SoylentGrien great post.

    I'll add to this by stating that in Australia, New Zealand and most countries of the world, providing a service without financial compensation is illegal, and falls under slavery.

    Thus, with this move by Niantic, PoCs, and organisers, have the legal rights to financial compensation for their efforts

  • Ah, no, providing a service without financial compensation is also called volunteering. Forcing someone to work without pay is slavery. Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything here, ever.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes but in Australia as well in theory volunteers for a paid event could be held liable for public liability issues etc. Any event in our city needs registration fee to be paid, and at a minimum a risk assessment done. California situation I suspect would apply in most 1st world countries.

  • Tricking people into volunteering for a charitable cause by hiding an important fact and profiting off it is called fraud. The definition of slavery according to includes physical force, coercion and fraud. While I do not suggest anyone suing NIA on this particular charge, I feel the need to clarify this point as it's a good-to-know in general.

  • RostwoldRostwold ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    Here in the UK, there is quite a backlash against unpaid internships and voluntary work for organisations that are not charities, as some businesses have been abusing the internship system, and others have (perhaps deliberately, perhaps inadvertently) used unpaid work requirements to exclude some social classes from getting jobs (for example, you need to work for free for 6 months to join a top law firm, so only people with parents rich enough to support that ever join).

    The upshot of this is that there is potential for the tax authorities here to decide that as this is a commercial event not a free one, they should have had their share of what unpaid volunteers would have been paid, had they been paid at least the minimum wage. Niantic could face retrospective tax bills (and along with that, a requirement to retrospectively pay that minimum wage too).

  • XK150XK150 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you people really think Anomalies are breaking the law, just report them already. All this intent internet lawyering is getting obnoxious.

  • RostwoldRostwold ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    Our objective here isn't to get Niantic into legal trouble, it's to get them out of legal trouble before it happens.

  • I couldn't agree with you more. The way I see it, they aren't charging for the right to play the game, they're charging for the in app badges and double ap.

  • RostwoldRostwold ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think how the local authorities will see it is more important than how you see it. The 'some random person on the internet said it was ok' defence has not been known to work well in court.

  • I haven't, in all the comments I've read, seen specifically stated what the differences and similarities are between anomalies, PoGo player events and Wizards Unite events. Who does the work of setting them up, what do players tweet for their participation, what are you actually playing for, etc?

    I don't play PoGo, but it seemed the WU event recently was set up as a party where Niantic seemed to do all the work brewing it prepared and run. I may be wrong, but I'd true this is a very different model that anomalies where the vast majority of the planning and on-site organizationn is done by us. The former I can see being a paid event. Niantic needs to work on it's prices if that is consistant around the world as this anomaly was going to be, but they're doing the work and I have no problem with them making money. Ingress anomalies have become more player run rather than less so it makes no sense for players to pay them more for the privledge now than before. I believe Niantic should take a look at this again.

  • Just going to quote myself here from page 2 of "No free participation in Umbra anomalies" thread

    On another note, I don't know if it was a coincidence or someone here tipped the authority off but we got a shoulder tap from the police in Stuttgart before the last field test and NIA apparently didn't register the event.

    If anything, the moral lesson here is...don't challenge the internet, they will, really, swat you.

Sign In or Register to comment.