person looking up game content policies

Esports Teams! Promoting a Big Tournament? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Navigating the IP of Game Developers and Publishers

Jul 1, 2022

One way to drum up excitement as an esports team is to host a tournament or event surrounding a popular game. This will bring in fans of the video game and, hopefully, result in new fans of your esports team. Once you have the plan for your event, you’ll want to promote it everywhere that you can — on social media, on your website, on your Twitch or Youtube streams. But you may also find yourself worried about running into copyright or trademark infringement with the video game. If you want to ensure that you have a good stream while remaining respectful to the content policies of the game you love so much, here are a few of our tips:

Know What Video Game Creators Control

The copyright and trademarks of a video game belongs to the video game developers and the publishers of the game. This comes with certain exclusive rights granted to the creators, such as the right to distribute the game, reproduce it, perform and display the work publicly. When it comes to esports competitions centered, publishers often have control over:

  • Who can compete in a competition
  • Who can organize the competition
  • How the competition is promoted and broadcasted

Thus to host the competition, you will likely need to get permission from the video game developers and/or publishers before you begin in order to avoid any infringements.

Look Up Their Content Policy

Many game developers have their own content policies specific to their company. These are often living documents detailing rules for the use of their content. Certain uses may be prohibited, while others may require permission, and some may be considered fair use. The content policy is developed by the company itself for the company itself, so don’t assume that because you’ve read one content policy, you’ve read them all. If you have any questions about their content policy, it’s a good idea to reach out and ask. These policies may or may not list the repercussions when a person infringes on the copyrighted or trademarked video game.

Always Stay on the Safe Side

Unless you have permission to use it, avoid using the game developer’s trademark. You can create your own graphics to promote the event, though without recognizable iconography, fans might not recognize it. If you want to use the trademark to promote your event or competition, don’t be afraid to ask. It can also help to hire a good IP attorney in order to help you avoid IP pitfalls for this situation and any relevant situations in the future.

Garcia-Zamor has over 20 years of combined experience in the area of intellectual property law. We’re passionate about protecting our clients’ IP and helping them avoid any IP infractions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your esports team or to schedule a free consultation.