Following the settlement of a class action lawsuit from 2016, Niantic has committed to new rules surrounding Pokemon Go’s augmented reality Pokestops in residential areas and public parks.
The lawsuit itself posed many questions about how location-based AR experiences are legally able to interact with the world and property laws but, as pointed out by The Register, the particular way this case played out means that no legal precedent for that relationship has been set.
Part of Pokemon Go’s augmented reality appeal is the game’s use of real-world locations as hubs for battles and events within the mobile game itself. In-game Pokestops and gyms require players to boot up Pokemon Go within a certain distance of them to reap rewards or participate in activities, but early on in the game’s lifetime some of the real-world places converted into the game’s Pokestops drew the ire of the people that lived near those locations.
In short, that kicked off a class action lawsuit back in 2016 that has only recently resulted in a settlement. In that settlement, Niantic admits no wrongdoing but agreed to pay legal fees and a small stipend to each participant to settle the case, and is rolling out a handful of new rules and policies for how Pokestops are set up in places like residential areas and parks.
A big part of the settlement, found here, involves new rules for how close Pokestops or gyms can be to single-family residences. If one of those in-game locations is placed within 40 meters of a residence, the owner will soon be able to fill out a form on the Pokemon Go website to request its removal. Niantic is obligated to address 95 percent of removal requests within 15 days, and carry out the removal itself within 5 days of agreeing to a request.
For more public spaces, Niantic is rolling out new rules for Pokestops and gyms in public parks that will switch off the in-game function of those markers outside of a public park’s hours, and players will be reminded in-game to be respectful of their real-world surroundings when starting events like large raids.