Starcraft Developers Must Construct Additional Lawsuits

Illustration for article titled Starcraft Developers Must Construct Additional Lawsuits

StarCraft isn't a game in South Korea, it's a national pastime. When gamers aren't playing it, they can watch tournaments on TV. But its creator, Blizzard Entertainment, is unhappy. And it has every right to be.

Blizzard's Paul Sams appeared at a press conference in Seoul late last week and blasted cable channels MBC Game and OnGameNet for televising tournaments without the company's permission, reports the Korea Times.

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"It's unfortunate that the e-sports industry in Korea is lagging behind other industries in recognition of intellectual property (IP) rights and the basic principles related to them," said Sams. "Korea is the only region in the world where we have had to resort to litigation to protect our IP rights." Blizzard is considering launching a lawsuit against the Korea e-Sports Players Association (KeSPA).

Blizzard allowed MBC Game and OnGameNet to show KeSPA tournaments until August — yet, the broadcasters continued to run StarCraft tournaments through the fall. Meanwhile, the game company signed an exclusive deal with Gretech-GomTV to show StarCraft tournaments.

The argument that broadcasters are making is that games used in professional tournaments are public domain and it would be akin to Adidas billing to have its balls used in games.

Sams was quick to reject that claim, noting, "Classifying StarCraft and other e-sports as part of the public domain deprives developers such as Blizzard of their IP rights. There will be no incentive to do what Blizzard had done to balance the games for competition, which is a more difficult task than creating a normal game."

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StarCraft isn't like Adidas footballs, and that analogy would better be suited to peripheral makers. StarCraft is Blizzard's show — every little thing in that game was created by someone at Blizzard. E-sports are a different beast than sports.

Blizzard vows to take MBC to court [Korea Times] [Pic]

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DISCUSSION

Bash, who paid you to say this? Did you get a friendly-yet-subtly scary letter from someone at activision or something? I'm seriously suprised, because you usually seem... not like this.

This is not an issue of intellectual property rights. They don't (or at least) shouldn't have the rights to control how footage of their game is distributed. Games are not movies. You don't pay to watch the game be played, you pay to play the game. The entertainment in watching the game be played is to watch the player's skill, not to look at the pretty sprites.

It really IS like a baseball manufacturer charging to have their baseball be shown on television. It's exactly like it. They have a right to keep anyone else from reproducing or profiting from their trademark, but showing people use a product in the manner it was designed for is a whole different animal.

If I buy a product, it's MINE. I can use it however I want. If I want to have a tournament involving use of that product, that's my right. You provided a good, and I paid you for it. Our relationship is now over. I hope Blizzard gets the legal bitchslap they deserve for this.

We're not even talking about piracy at all here. Every copy of the game used in these tournaments is (ostensibly) legitimate.

PS -Didn't you editors at Kotaku use to be on the side of players having rights to use the things they buy? Maybe it's just me, but it seems like you are switching sides.