Academic journal article Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

A Cure for Twitch: Compulsory License Promoting Video Game Live-Streaming

Academic journal article Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

A Cure for Twitch: Compulsory License Promoting Video Game Live-Streaming

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION   I. UNAUTHORIZED STREAMING AND DEFENSE AGAINST COPYRIGHT      INFRINGEMENT IN CHINA AND U.S       A. Practice of Video Game Live Streaming          1. Overview of Unauthorized Streaming          2. "SpectateFaker" Dispute Brings Copyright Concerns about             the New Business       B. The Legality of Unauthorized Streaming of Video Game          Playing Is Uncertain          1. Is the Gamer's Online Streaming Infringement?             a. U.S. Law             b. Chinese Law         2. Is the Streaming Platform Protected by ISP Safe Harbor?             a. DMCA Safe Harbor             b. Chinese Safe Harbor          3. Can Streamers Get Copyright of Their Oral Commentary             and Performance?  II. A NEW COMPULSORY LICENSE IN CHINESE COPYRIGHT LAW TO HELP      VIDEO GAME STREAMING OUT      A. Proposal of Adopting a Compulsory License in Chinese         Copyright Law          1. Draft of Video Game Streaming License Provision          2. Key Elements of the Proposal             a. When the Compulsory License Applies             b. Opting Out of the Compulsory License             c. Right of Cancellation             d. Remuneration      B. Application of Proposal      C. The Advantages of Adopting a Compulsory License         1. Harmonized with Chinese Legal System         2. Satisfy the Efficiency Requirement of Network            Environment         3. Balancing the Interests Between Copyright Owners,            Streamer(s), and Streaming Platforms III. RESPONDING TO CRITICISMS ON A COMPULSORY LICENSE WITH      "RIGHT OF CANCELLATION"      A. Why it is Unlikely that All Game Publishers Would Cancel the         License?      B. How the Proposal Satisfies the Three-Step Test of the TRIPs         Article Thirteen CONCLUSION 

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever heard of "Arteezy"? He is a famous video game player who broadcasts his game playing live on the Twitch.tv website. Arteezy gains more than three-hundred thousand subscribers that pay $4.99 per person each month to stream his game playing. (1) At this rate, he could potentially earn at least $1.5 million per month from his fans. That is a substantial amount of money! All his success is based on the development of an emerging industry: the video game streaming industry.

The video game streaming industry is based on the technical development of online streaming platforms. Recently, one of the most famous video game streaming platform "Twitch.tv" was purchased by the company Amazon for $1.1 billion. (2) What type of venture commands this type of price? Basically, "Twitch.tv" provides video gamers with a website location to share and stream their video game experiences with others. Through the platform, streamers host their own channel and achieve interaction with audiences while playing the game. Specifically, "Twitch viewers typically see the screen of a [web]caster, featuring the game being played, along with a video feed of the player's face and a chat window so they can communicate with the player and others watching the action." (3) And the audiences are not a group of people sitting in a gymnasium or theater--in fact, they are millions of Twitch users sitting in front of their computer screens. "Twitch boasts 1.5 million broadcasters ... [a]nd its 100 million viewers per month spend an average of 106 minutes watching streamed content on the network per person per day." (4) The existence of such activities is not new, and there are lots of websites around the world that share this "big cake," like "Douyu.tv" in China and "afreeca.tv" in Korea, whom primarily focus on "video gaming, including playthroughs of video games by users, broadcasts of e-sports competitions, 5 and other gaming-related events. Content on the site can either be viewed live, or viewed on an on-demand basis. (6) However, lurking in the live game streaming industry are some copyright risks, which need to be mitigated to ensure the new industry flourishes in the future. …

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