GamingLawPills #24 – Video game boosters in South Korea and legal opportunities in the esports industry

GamingLawPills brings news on the South Korean legislative proposal to punish video game boosters and on the law firms’ opportunities in the video game and esports industry.

Law enforcement in South Korea to punish video game boosters

South Korea is willing to enact a law that aims to punish video game boosters (i.e. people who boost other people’s account for a fee).

The law was passed by the National Assembly Legislation Review Committee and it is aimed at sanctioning with a maximum of 2 years in prison and a fine up to $ 20,000, those players who play on a different person’s account on a video game to boost their ranking in exchange of money. The law defines a “proxy game” as

an act that interferes with the normal operation of the game by arranging or providing the service to acquire the score or performance of the game in a way that is not approved by the game-related business operated.

According to lawmakers, the provision on video game boosters will ban any form of seeking profit in the video game ecosystem so that it disturbs the normal process of games, as well as harming fair competition between players. Though boosting is a world-wide problem in the industry, it is a practice that is heavily prevalent in South Korea, where there are multiple people and companies who offer boosting as a service. These boosts are offered for games such as Overwatch and League of Legends.

Pursuant to the legislative process in South Korea, the amendment will now be going through the Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee and then the Legislation and Judiciary Committee meeting before it will be examined in the National Assembly on 30 December 2018. Once it has been formally passed, boosting for the purpose of financial gain will become a fully illegal activity in the country.

Law firms’ opportunities in the video game and esports industry

The competitive video gaming, generally known with the term of esports, represents a massive global industry that – according to the Global Esports Market Report realized by Newzoo – is expected to generate more than one and a half billion dollars by 2020.

Companies from different sectors, including law firms and traditional sports organizations are getting involved, each trying to claim a segment of the industry for their own. The arguments at stake provides opportunities for the law firms to represent eSports teams and athletes for their contractual implications as well as game developers for the development of a broadcast right model and the enforcement of IP rights.

This is an opportunity that we at DLA Piper have already taken through our top ranked Media, Sport & Entertainment group whose details are available here.

In the coming months, we will esponentially cover the topic since, given the dynamic nature of video games, we understand the needs for eSports clients to require an understanding of video game industry, of innovative use of media and technology and of the complex framework of sports regulatory and commercial issues that will become increasingly important as the sector continues to develop.

I am Vincenzo Giuffrè, you can drop me a line @ [email protected] and read the previous issues of GamingLawPills here. Also don’t forget to try Prisca, our GDPR chatbot described HERE and stay tuned and register to our newsletter!

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Vincenzo Giuffré

Trainee Lawyer at DLA Piper IPT Italy, Milan| Graduated Student at Bocconi University: Major Business Law School | Exchange Program at University of Minnesota - W. Mondale Law School | Visiting Student at National University of Singapore (NUS)

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