Enlarge (credit: Candy Lab)
A judge on Thursday declared as unconstitutional a local Wisconsin ordinance mandating that the makers of augmented reality games get special use permits if their mobile apps were to be played in county parks.
The law—the nation’s first of its kind—was challenged on First Amendment grounds amid concerns it amounted to a prior restraint of a game maker’s speech. What’s more, the law was seemingly impossible to comply with.
The federal lawsuit was brought by a Southern California company named Candy Lab.
The maker of Texas Rope ‘Em—an augmented reality game with features like Pokemon Go—sued Milwaukee County after it adopted an AR ordinance in February in the wake of the Pokemon Go craze.
Because some of its parks were overrun by a deluge of players, the county began requiring AR makers to get a permit before their apps could be used in county parks.
The permitting process also demanded that developers perform the impossible: estimate crowd size, event dates, and the times when mobile gamers would be playing inside county parks.
The permits, which cost as much as $1,000, also required that developers describe plans for garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services. Without meeting those requirements, augmented reality publishers would be in violation of the ordinance if they published games that included playtime in Milwaukee County parks.
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