New Jersey Man Files Lawsuit Over Pokemon Go After A Few Players Politely Knocked On His Door

from the horrible-pain-and-suffering dept

Since Pokemon Go launched last month, we've seen an endless stream of players oddly forget that "augmented reality" doesn't mean the rules of traditional reality no longer apply. Players have spent the last month playing the game in some admittedly "inappropriate" places, while wandering in and out of private property or unsafe areas in a quest to capture virtual monsters. This did, as you might expect, involve a slight learning curve for the nation's police departments as they slowly figured out what augmented reality was:
Apparently fed up with the phenomenon (or just looking for a payday), a New Jersey man last Friday filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Niantic Labs and Nintendo. The 16-page complaint is quick to play up complaints about Pokemon Go players catching monsters in places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and says the game makers actively invited "unwanted incursions" on to private property when they populated reality with augmented reality monsters:
"Niantic has encouraged Pokémon Go’s millions of players to make unwanted incursions onto the properties of plaintiff and other members of the class—a clear and ongoing invasion of their use and enjoyment of their land from which defendants have profited and continue to profit."
The lawsuit is seeking class action status, an injunction and damages, disgorgement or other monetary relief. And it's no wonder; plaintiff Jeffery Marder's own experience with the game sounds utterly terrifying; involving five whole people politely knocking on his door to ask if they could capture monsters in his yard:
"At least five individuals knocked on plaintiff's door, informed plaintiff that there was a Pokemon in his backyard, and asked for access to plaintiff's backyard in order to 'catch' the Pokemon. Defendants have shown a flagrant disregard for the foreseeable consequences of populating the real world with virtual Pokemon without seeking the permission of property owners."
How the plaintiff survived such a harrowing ordeal is not spelled out in the complaint. Marder's lawyer and the law firm representing him (Jennifer Pafti of Pomerantz) have been busy on the class action front, having lead class actions against everyone from Fitbit to Etsy in recent years. For what it's worth, the guidelines for the game urge players to "not trespass, or in any manner gain or attempt to gain access to any property or location where you do not have the right or permission to be."

So while potentially annoying, there's no actual harm being done by the game manufacturers, who at least make an effort to remind players that the rules of reality still apply in augmented reality games. Either the players are trespassing, harassing others and violating the law here in the real world -- or they aren't. There's (clearly) no law prohibiting people from being annoying or stupid, and while Mr. Marder's experience of having five people politely knock on his door certainly must have been traumatizing, it's a stretch to suggest Niantic and Nintendo are actively encouraging public stupidity.

Filed Under: class action, pokemon, pokemon go, trespassing
Companies: niantic, nintendo

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 3 Aug 2016 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    your reading comprehension is lacking: we live on a PRIVATE road that is posted as such; NO ONE but residents and their guests should be using our road (which goes nowhere but our subdivision), BUT all kinds of people do, for mostly selfish reasons... IN GENERAL, we dont care and arent assholes about it... the one time when dipsticks were riding their noise machines in endless loops around our street at high speeds, a neighbor had a talk with them...
    turns out was an entitled kop and his kids who didnt give a shit we had no trespassing signs on our road, apparently he was a real asshole about it to the neighbor, but he didnt come down our road any more, either...
    we arent on a through road, we arent on a public road, there is no access to anywhere else that anyone but a utility worker would ever need, so ANYONE walking around a rural area like this IS suspect...
    you dont like shotguns, then i suggest you not trespass on your rural neighbors property: good fences make good neighbors...
    (and, no, we do not come out on the porch and rack a shell every time somebody approaches our house, but you arent getting it: we live in an area where NOBODY casually walks by en route to someplace else, if they are here, they meant to be here, not some random walk... besides, the dogs are usually enough to give most people pause...)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.