Esports is a rapidly growing industry. While we, as a country, may be just beginning to understand the industry, we cannot ignore the fact that even at this nascent stage the industry is facing internal and external legal issues. The newness of the industry, the lack of a central regulatory body along with the law to govern it, the lack of awareness among the players and other stakeholders, the lack of acceptance and the taboo surrounding esports; the reasons for the arising legal issues are just too many to even list down. However, what we need to understand is that these issues need to be addressed for the greater good of its stakeholders and the industry itself.
To understand what issues are currently prevalent in the esports industry in India, we connected with Dr. Mitsu Chavda, an esports lawyer, a legal advisor and a social activist. She shared her take on the legal puzzle of esports, the loopholes and the day-to-day legal issues she comes across as an active practitioner in the field.
Tell us about the different legal aspects of esports in India?
Esports is a catching-up field. We have seen the advent of video games since the times of Sega, Atari and 16-bit, 32-bit games but with the advent of better internet facilities, 5x growth is visible since 2005. It is at a considerable level at this point in time. Laws such as cybersecurity law, contract law, criminal laws, IPR, and copyright apply to e-sports just as they apply to other areas of society. We should pay close attention to any changes in laws and emerging trends to ensure that you will never be offside.
What do you do as an Esports lawyer?
– Drafting, review, and management of e-sports contracts;
– Advice and consultation on sponsorship;
– Right of publicity (intellectual property)
– Governance, integrity, and supervision;
– Rules, regulations and management of competition/competition organisation;
– Drafting related to esports constitution of the association;
– Dispute resolution
Another important factor is esports organisations and player contracts. Does India have any specific laws for the protection of players against adverse contracts? If yes, tell us a little more about it.
If you consider specific laws to esports, there is no code specifically regulating esports but the various laws from the various domains regulate commerce and relationships come into play in esports. It’s at a nascent stage. Every player, group, alliance, and competition needs to have a lawyer with incredible comprehension/knowledge of the contract and agreement law. It will help them in drafting, arranging, marking, settling, and understanding the agreements.
Players on their part must try not to sign agreements without lawful direction i.e legal guidance, no matter how lucrative the offer is. Players should look for legal assistance to secure themselves and guarantee that they do not transfer ownership of their privileges for little advantage. Escaping such lawful responsibilities can be extremely hard or inconceivable.
What are the most common legal issues regarding esports in India currently?
The most common legal issues regarding esports in India are contracts, salary disbursement and player poaching, to name a few. Apart from these, rights of creators of games, stakeholders, organisers and players; inter-organizer rights; player sponsors and player organizer rights are also some common legal issues in Indian esports.
Catch Chavda spill some more beans about the legal issues faced by the Indian esports industry in Gutshot Magazine’s September 2021 e-magazine. She shares her take on topics like legalities pertaining to player contracts, the formation of esports organizations and how players can protect themselves from being exploited. Read the full interview here.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by manifesting herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in drawing and DIY crafts.
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