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Lawsuit settlement might see some Pokémon Go gyms and Pokéstops removed

Who's responsible for Pokémon Go trespassing; players or Niantic?

Homeowners allegedly affected by the positioning of Niantic's Pokémon Go virtual gyms and Pokéstops have submitted a proposal to a Calfornian judge in the hope of settling its legal dispute with the developer.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiffs - who maintain that the hugely popular augmented-reality game resulted in players trespassing on or near their properties - hope an agreement will settle the dispute which was originally lodged in 2016. If a judge agrees, Niantic will be forced to become more responsible for the placement of its virtual locations... and the placement of the Pokémon themselves, of course.

The case is particularly significant as it may redefine who is responsible for trespassing; the actual person doing it, or the game/app/company that's encouraging them to do so via virtual goods?

Ahead of next month's hearing, the papers are now available online, but here's THR's summary of what Niantic is pledging to do in the form of injunctive relief:

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

If the settlement is accepted by the judge, then all named plaintiffs in the lawsuit will receive $1000 (£775) each in compensation. The law firm handling the claims, however, seeks an additional $8 million in attorney's fees and $130,000 in expenses.

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