Liability for Proximate Cause
Pokémon Go is an app that allows users to interact with virtual Pokémon characters positioned all over the world. It is a global phenomenon with more than five hundred million downloads, but it is not without some ethical problems. The app has a “Lure Module” that players can use to attract Pokémon users to their location. Four teenage suspects were arrested in O’Fallon, Montana for armed robbery against Pokémon Go players that they lured to their location with this app. And Pokémon Go users have on occasion caused damage in neighborhoods rich with Pokémon characters that had been placed on private properties by the game’s owners.
Should Pokémon Go be required to remove their virtual figures from private property? Does responsibility lie with the users who play the game or should the owners of Pokémon Go be held responsible for the crimes and damages caused by their platform? Is there a difference in legal responsibility between crimes enabled by this platform, and injury or property damage similarly facilitated?