Intellectual Property

DLA Piper eSports law booklet

The eSports market has grown at a tremendous pace over the past few years becoming a half billion dollar industry and it is quickly seducing an increasing number of fans, operators and investors. Beside the huge growth, the industry is rapidly evolving, going from content consumed largely through streaming platforms to network-backed streaming services.

The eSports law booklet from the Italian IPT team of DLA Piper covers a number of current and upcoming legal issues of eSports and how to deal with them in order to help companies operating in the market to better understand the issues that are arising and to which the eSports industry in some cases does not still have a good answer.

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eSports and Copyright between choreographies and UGC

There are a number of copyright issues related to the choreography of an eSports game. In these days the first (and most important) regards the protection of choreographic elements (i.e. a dance) which could appear in videogames. In Europe and in the USA, a choreographic work is protected by copyright. This is why an extended series of dances moves that is original to its creator can be protected by copyright. The above explains the law suits recently filed in the USA at the end of 2018 by several individuals in connection with famous Fortnite videogame.

If you are not familiar with Fortnite, players can buy (or earn) emotes, short avatar animations who can replicate generic acrobatic moves and dances. The Fortnite Loser Dance (so called L Dance) become famous thanks to the French soccer player Griezmann, who used this theme after scoring in the last World Cup 2018 final against Croatia.

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Loot boxes and its regulatory implications

Loot box regulation is a hot topic in a variety of regions. The attention over loot boxes began when a number of video games started to incorporate gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items within the game.

Previously, video games were sold as a stand-alone product and the interaction between players and the developers of the game existed only and to the extent players would have bought a sequel or an expansion pack of the video game.

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How do you spell e-Stadium?

The majority of legal analysis concerning the raise of e-Sports tends to coagulate around the main stakeholders, i.e. the IP owners, the broadcasters, the sponsors and the e-athletes and teams, focusing on the appropriate way to discipline their relationships, possibly against a regulated background capable of dealing with gambling, e-doping and, more generally, with the requirements and rules set by laws, sport authorities and similar bodies.

There is however a missing piece in this picture: the audience, i.e. the increasing crowd interested to see the e-games, possibly attending live events, with the opportunity to meet their idols and see them play live.

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Milan Fashion Week and Fashion Law Trends – The never-ending saga of cultural appropriation in fashion

Over the last years we have witnessed extensive disapproval of the fashion world when dealing with collections or campaigns inspired by different cultures. As a fact, criticism on alleged cases of cultural appropriation has been rising to the stars throughout the years and does not seem to come to an end.

Generally speaking, cultural appropriation is defined as the unrecognized or inappropriate adoption of traditions, practices, ideas, etc. of one culture by members of another cultural, usually the latter being more dominant.

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Milan Fashion Week and Fashion Law Trends − New brand identity in the fashion industry: is the “sans-serification” the right move? 

In recent months many fashion companies have been restyling their brands by simplifying and minimizing their visual impact: big fashion industries are dropping unique fonts, words and design features − which until now have significantly contributed to differentiate their brands from their competitors’ ­− in favor of most popular and common fonts, such as sans-serif.

“Less is more”, we may say.

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Milan Fashion Week and Fashion Law Trends – Lil Miquela, Shudu, Bermuda and Sophia The Robot: CGI and Robot IT Girls Who Will Become the Influencers of the Future

There is a new crop of influencersin town and – read carefully – they are not real people.

Virtual influencers – influencers who are not human, but rather are CGI creations or robots – are the latest trend on social media. CGI stands for “computer-generated imagery” and it is a technology that creates pictures through the use of computers, now applied to create the new trend of virtual – but realistic – Instagram influencers and models.

In particular, the top 4 leading the group are Miquela Sousa, Bermuda, Shudu and Sophia the Robot.

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Use of excerpts of videogames and eSports competitions without the right holder’s consent: is it fair use (or the Princess is in another castle)?

Publications sharing tips on how to complete videogames and maximise bonuses might increase with the expansion of the eSport competitions. The same applies to platforms streaming videogames alone or together with eSport actions of the various players. Yet are these activities possible without the right holders’ consent?

Under Italian law, videogames are protected as a whole as copyright works like movies, whilst their frames could be protected as simple photographies (with protection lasting 20 years from their publication). Following a different opinion, videogame frames could be excluded from protection, as they may considered similar to documents, as provided by Art. 87, last sentence of the Italian Copyright Law (ICL).

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Milan Fashion Week and Fashion Law Trends: Sustainability and green claims

After that last September Lady Gaga walked the Venice Film Festival red carpet in a pink feathered Valentino gown, next season will be all about feathers. But where do feathers come from? Are they compliant with sustainability claims and animal welfare regulations?

Since consumers are increasingly sensitive towards sustainability problems and the ecological and ethical qualities of a product can influence the purchasing choices of the average consumer, the last trend in fashion is using materials and manufacturing processes that respect the environment and local communities, along with animal welfare and working conditions. During last Milan Fashion Week, the whole fashion system met at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards launched in 2017 to celebrate the commitment of luxury fashion houses to sustainability. Ex Spice Girl, now fashion designer Victoria Beckham announced that she will stop use of exotic leathers from A/W 2019 collection of her fashion brand, already fur free. The global sportswear brand Adidas committed to using only recycled plastic by 2024. Just yesterday the French luxury group LVMH launched the first standard for responsible crocodile leather sourcing across three pilot farms.

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Milan Fashion Week and Fashion Law Trends: Use and protection of fashion archives

The Milan Fashion Week has just started and from today we are glad to host some highlights on the major fashion law trends of this season.

Heritage is one of the major assets a fashion company holds and the ultimate tendency of this Fashion Week is to revamp old creations from the maison’s archives.

Firstly, it should be assessed whether the fashion company can use its own archives. This seems to be a plain question, however, in practice, it could happen that, despite being the owner of the physical copies of sketches and preparatory works of certain garments or motifs, the company does not hold the IP rights over such creations of the past.

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eSports: a new frontier for the advertising law and image rights?

eSports competitions have recently become a trend topic among sports and gaming lovers.

An ever-growing number of major sports leagues and pro young players are getting involved in this global competitive industry, together with an increasing turnover. By 2020, eSports is predicted to become a billion-dollar industry.

This explosive growth of digital sports championships captured the attention of many leading companies – operating in various lines of business – which are gradually approaching this new phenomenon by investing into eSports in the hope of targeting its relevant audience.

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New programming and investment obligations for VOD and linear audio-visual media service providers!

On 25 January 2019, the Italian Communications Authority (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, hereinafter “AGCOM“) published the Resolution 595/18/CONS setting out the new Regulation on programming and investment obligations in favour of European works and works by independent producers (as amended by AGCOM Resolution 24/19/CONS) (hereinafter, “New Regulation“).

The New Regulation – which replaces the previous resolutions concerning the programming and investment quotas, including Resolution 66/09/CONS – was adopted on the basis of the Legislative Decree no. 204/2017, which amended the Consolidated Act on audio-visual media services and empowered AGCOM to set detailed rules applicable to linear and non-linear audio-visual media services providers, as well as to pay-per-view media services providers.

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Top 3 predictions on new tobacco products and e-cigs

Since their first placing on the market, electronic cigarettes – better known as “e-cigs” – and novel tobacco products (“NTPs“) have been a controversial topic of discussion.

Due to the proximity of e-cigs and NTPs with traditional smoking products, lawmakers have had to deal with great issues involving not only authorization requirements and procedures but also issues concerning boundaries in advertisement, taxation and how to address problems such as underage smoking.

Directive 2014/40/EU sets out the general legal framework for NTPs, e-cigs and e-liquids (nicotine and nicotine-free liquids meant to be vaped) in the European Union. In Italy, the latter has been implemented by means of Legislative Decree 6/2016, which has already seen a number of amendments in roughly three years of life.

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