Several League of Legends content creators on YouTube have reportedly received take-down notices from SK Telecom T1 on the basis of copyright infringement.
According to a recent thread on Reddit, the management is not happy with montages and other gameplay-related videos featuring their players.
It should be noted that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices from SK Telecom T1 deal with footage obtained in-game and not from live streams.
What this means is that a player who recorded his League of Legends game with any SK Telecom T1 member, such as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Yoon “Peanut” Wang-ho, cannot earn from the footage by uploading it on YouTube.
The following is a statement received by one affected content creator on YouTube:
Not only SKT T1’s copyrights include its emblems and its players’ photos, but also they include the players’ highlight/montage videos, streams, and any other VODs related to SKT T1. We already requested Riot Games copyright protection for all SKT T1’s spectate videos. Also, Riot Games acknowledged that SKT T1 has the copyright over its players’ spectate videos.
Moreover, your actions violate Republic of Korea’s Right of Publicity and copyright laws. If you continue to create and upload more videos of SKT T1, we inform you that the law can take legal actions against your actions. Therefore, we ask you to delete the remaining videos of SKT T1’s player. If you do not delete the video until this week, Riotgames will take action directly.
While the community is debating over how Riot Games, and not SK Telecom T1, owns the rights to in-game footage, the South Korean esports organization has claimed that the copyright infringment is part of the developer’s official guidelines.
To make the situation worse, the management is going after videos that were uploaded over three months back. SK Telecom T1 just migrated to Twitch a couple of weeks back, a move that could not have been predicted by any content creator back then.
According to rules and regulations laid out by YouTube, receiving three take-down notices will shutdown the concerned channel. There is natural concern in this scenario because many have taken YouTube as their source of income.
SK Telecom T1 could have outlined the policy for videos uploaded from hereon. However, it chose to go after videos created months ago, which is disappointing.