Written By: Jacob Rogers
Edited By: Jeffery Habenicht
On November 18th-20th, 2011, Major League Gaming hosted a Starcraft II tournament in Providence, Rhode Island, where over 250 professional players competed for a $100,000 prize. Starcraft and Starcraft II (collectively “Starcraft”) are a pair of video games set in a futuristic universe in which players compete against each other by controlling armies of humans with advanced technology or one of two alien races, the enigmatic Protoss, or the swarming Zerg.
This Comment addresses the legal ramifications of publicly broadcasted videogames used as a sport by analyzing Starcraft, one of, if not the most powerful professionally competitive game. Section I addresses the background of real-time strategy games (“RTS”) and provides an introduction to the professional Starcraft industry. Section II analyzes the recent lawsuit and settlement between Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Korean Starcraft broadcasters and considers how it might have been resolved had it not settled. Section III recommends a change to improve copyright law in light of the unique characteristics of game broadcasting. I argue that Starcraft has transformed into a quasi-public good with governmental, corporate, and private stakeholders, which should limit its creators’ right to enjoin its use through copyright law.