On May 18, a South Korean politician put forward a bill that would stop esports tournament organizers and stakeholders from unilaterally terminating tournaments without first informing participants and other principles involved in the event. The bill, “The Heroes of the Storm Law,” was put forward to parliament by Congressman Dong-su Yoo of the Democratic Party of Korea, as first reported in Naver Sports. As Yoo explained, the bill is to prevent a game publishers’ unilateral termination of an esports competition, and would require the game publisher or distribution company (which owns the copyright of the game, or has the rights to operate an event) to inform involved parties several months in advance if they are planning to shut down an esports competition.
“In esports, if the game publisher is no longer willing to support the competition, the rights of many other parties who are involved in the competitions, including esports organizations, players, casters, viewers, and others would seriously be affected by these kinds of unilateral decisions,” Yoo said.
The “HOTS Law” was inspired by an incident that traces back to December 2018, when Blizzard Entertainment shut down Heroes Global Championship (HGC) and Heroes of the Dorm. The decision was made by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and infuriated many esports organizations, players, and coaches because they were not informed of the cancelation prior to the announcement. South Korean team Gen.G Esports was one of the best Heroes of The Storm teams at the time and were forced out of jobs because of it.
Yoo pointed out that many esports players are teenagers or in their early 20s, and they are at a vital stage in building their careers. A sudden ending of an esports ecosystem can cause serious and long-lasting consequences, he said: “Laws must be in place to protect them from unilateral damage.”
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