PGC Digital: Understanding laws in esports

"It is quite surprising how many players and fans will get in trouble on social media"

PGC Digital: Understanding laws in esports

As with any industry, esports does have a variety of legal issues that need to be considered.

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #4, Gamma Law managing partner David Hoppe discussed the legal aspects of esports.

"There is something interesting about this area," said Hoppe.

"Here we are talking about a really diverse range of areas."

Various laws fall within the esports sector. Fundamental areas included in esports are games, players, promotion, events both live and online, media and merchandise and e-commerce.

There are many things to consider, such as licensing, intellectual property, leasing, privacy and publicity rights. Moreover, there are the anti-gambling regulations to think about, media and broadcasting rights, advertising regulation and online legal terms.

Furthermore, it is essential to bear harassment in mind, as it can be a real issue in the esports space. Moreover, community management is important, as these groups can get very passionate.

Know your law

Within the esports business, there are players, sponsors, advertisers, teams, organisations, game owners, venues, tournament organisers, event producers, video platforms, investors and fans.

On occasion, tournament organisers are actually brands, with a keen interest in the space.

IP is a blurry area. It is vital to be cautious due to publisher control, tournament branding and copyright. An agreement must be in place to use the branding of a game for an event.

When it comes to advertising, it is crucial "to get the protection you need within the agreement." Conflicting rights need to be considered. It is recommended to work with an advisor to iron out the deal.

"It is quite surprising how many players and fans will get in trouble on social media," said Hoppe.

Moreover, there are "people" issues within esports. For example, there are employees and contractors to think about and unrepresented talent. Moreover, is an agency license required and are visas in place for international players.

Stay protected

Naturally, there are various laws to consider when looking at finance within the esports industry. It is recommended that you get some help here. Under finance falls valuations, partnerships, acquisitions and ownership.

In events and tournaments, there are need to be contingencies in place. There is much to consider, such as personal data, cheating, underage players and fans, personal injury, COVID-19, insurance, gambling and spectator releases.

PGC Digital #4 will run from November 9th to November 13th. To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here. There's still time to sign up - to find out more and book a ticket, head to the website.

Staff Writer

Kayleigh is the Staff Writer for Besides PGbiz and PCGI she has written as a list writer for Game Rant, rambling about any and all things games related. You can also find her on Twitter talking utter nonsense.