Poke’mon Go And Private Property Rights

By | August 4, 2016
trespassing on federal land

Source: CTV News

By now there are few among us who have not at least heard the name of the game, Poke’mon Go.

And whether you play Poke’mon Go or not, there are no shortages of issues and controversies that have risen up around both the game and some of its more zealous players.

Consider the case of an armed robbery in O’Fallon, Missouri where it is alleged that four teens ‘whose ages range from 16 to 18, are suspected to be behind 10 to 11 armed robberies in St. Louis and St. Charles counties in which they allegedly used the app to bait victims…’. (USAToday)

But what about issues surrounding property owners and property rights?

Homeowner and Pokemon Go!

Consider the case where a homeowner has filed a request for a class action lawsuit against Niantic, Inc, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo Co., Ltd.

‘The crux of the homeowner’s case is that the defendants placed Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on private property without the consent of the property owners and then proceeded to profit from players invading private property.

The homeowner became aware that his backyard contained Pokémon when strangers began gathering in front of his house holding up their cell phones. The lawsuit alleges that “at least five” players knocked on his door and asked if they could gain access to his backyard to catch Pokémon.

By requesting permission rather than trespassing, the players seem to have been following the game’s recommendations that they respect other people’s property. Nevertheless, the suit cites well-reported cases of players chasing Pokémon in cemeteries and the Holocaust Museum as examples of unwanted intrusions into private property and goes on to claim that even when players ask for permission, constant requests constitute a nuisance that prevents homeowners from fully enjoying their property.’ (Source)

Do you agree with the premise of the lawsuit, disagree or basically have no opinion as no one is stepping on your property or ringing your bell?

Whatever your position, this is likely not the last time we will be hearing about the controversies that surround this application!


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Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York. He can be reached at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or at 516.741.4723.


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