Multiple American Cities Raise Legal Challenges to Pokemon Go

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More cities are trying to "opt out" of the Pokemon Go craze. Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Parks and Recreation Department sent a formal notice to Pokemon Go developer Niantic Labs, demanding that the company apply for permits for each PokeStop and Pokemon Gym found in local parks.

The local parks department's action comes after local residents complained about hundreds of players visiting Lake Park, a large and historic lakefront park. According to the Milwaukee Parks and Recreation department, the influx in traffic to the park has caused traffic issues and players violating the park's posted hours of operation. In a letter sent to Niantic Labs' CEO John Hanke, the department claimed that over 430 citations and tickets have been handed out to Pokemon Go players due to parking violations, breaking curfew, and vendors illegally setting up shop at the park to pick up Pokemon Go business.

According to the department, the PokeStop and Pokemon Gym locations are considered "virtual geocaches", which are regulated under a local statute and require mandatory monitoring by the permit holder. If the permits are approved, Niantic becomes responsible for monitoring the locations four times a year and has to report any vandalism or erosion found at the PokeStops. However, applying for a permit is free and Milwaukee isn't asking Niantic to pay for any perceived damage caused by Pokemon Go players at this time.

Milwaukee isn't the only city looking at Pokemon Go with critical eyes. A Chicago lawmaker has introduced legislation that would make Niantic more accountable for removing PokeStops from certain "vulnerable" properties. The so-called "Pidgey's Law" would require Niantic and other game developers to remove "ecologically sensitive site or location, historically significant site or location, site or location on private property, or site or location otherwise deemed as dangerous" from their game. If developers don't comply with the requests, they would be subject to a daily $100 fine.

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The new law came after Niantic refused to remove a PokeStop at the Loyola Dunes along Lake Michigan, which has suffered ecological damage as a result of Pokemon Go players. Kelly Cassidy, the creator of "Pidgey's Law", told a local newspaper that she doesn't want to see Pokemon Go banished from the Chicago area, but just wants Niantic to choose its PokeStop placement more carefully. "Don't put it in the middle of a protected space," she told DNAInfo. "That would be true whether we're talking about a Lincoln site where it should be a little more reverent than people screaming, 'Bulbasaur' and running after it."