Tournament Hosting Legal Concerns


#1

Not sure where else to put this, since the rules on the “Tournaments” threads seem so strict.

Can anyone give me some insight into what kind of legal ramifications there are to hosting a tournament? It’s pretty clear that unless otherwise authorized, public performance is not something you’re licensed to do once you buy a game, and I’m no legal genius, but I assume that it gets even more complicated when you’re talking about entry fees and cash prizes (i.e. someone is profiting in some way off the public exhibition of said game). Are there official channels one goes through in order to get the necessary license for these kinds of things? Or are most tournaments not associated with the publisher just slipping under the radar?


#2

Capcom or any other game company wouldn’t want to hurt it’s consumers. Even if there was some type of licensing issue, gaming companies won’t make a move to sue their customers.


#3

I seriously doubt Capcom would care considering just about anybody attending a tournament (which is obviously a competition) is going to already own at least one of the games offered there, and even if they’re just there looking, all that is is free advertisement for Capcom.

What Capcom would care about would be pirating of the game, not just letting random people play it for an hour. Consider it like this, there’s nothing wrong with having a few friends over and letting them play, is there? So think of a tournament like inviting a bunch of friends over to play.


#4

Well, unfortunately, there is an important legal difference between inviting a few friends over to play and playing publicly. The license agreement even says so on the back of the game, but thanks for the advice.


#5

I think you are really overthinking things. Have you heard of a single instance of ANY game publisher/developer taking legal action against anyone running competitions for their games?


#6

It’s the same reason people don’t get sued over fan art/fiction, song covers and the like. The dumbest move you can make is prosecuting the most hardcore fans for showing their pride in your product.


#7

Yeah, but i think he is asking whether those tournaments had any legal things done beforehand (like contacting the publishers telling them there is going to be a tourney etc.)


#8

The concern of making sure you’re doing things right if you’re trying to run the tournament, but you’re reading far too into it. In fact, Capcom would encourage you to hold a tournament for SSF4. Guaranteed.


#9

NO, the only tournament I’ve ever had to talk to the company about was a Namco Regional, and that was because Namco was providing the prizes and listing locations for each regional. Theres tournament all over the country every week, all you need to run one is a copy of the game and some people willing to enter. Capcom or Namco or whoever is not coming after anyone for holding tournaments.


#10

Again though, it’s just free advertisement. Why would Capcom give a damn so long as you aren’t handing out free pirated copies of the game? All you’re doing is advertising the game to those who don’t own it, and letting those that do just play the game the already own on somebody elses disc, big deal.

Do you really think every single city that holds weekly Ranbats goes through legal processes with Capcom (by the way, that’s a LOT of cities)? No. You’re overthinking it way too much, Capcom does not give a shit nor do any other developers.


#11

I will say this though, as far as I’ve been told, tournaments with cash prizes is only quazi-legal in some states as the exchange of money based on a game of skill is apparently gambling in some places. That being said, nobody is going to court over hosting tournaments, the district attorney has bigger problems than who’s hosting tourneys on a particular weekend.

Which brings me to a question of my own, what’s the general consensus on participating in a tournament (with cash payouts) that you are running? That would seem like a conflict of interest and one of my friends believes this is completely illegal. The way I see it though, (for the most part) hosting events are almost exclusively run by volunteers and are not paid for running games and therefore no conflict of interest occors. Maybe, like the OP, I’m overthinking this matter entirely, but I’m curious as to where everybody else stands on the issue.


#12

I don’t really see whats wrong with it. Sure, you could rig the setup so that you would only face non-skilled players in the initial matches, but after that, when you get to face the pros you’d lose anyway if you suck. What i’m trying to say is that i get your point, but it doesn’t apply here, because running the tournament doesn’t increase your odds to win (except for the reason i just mentioned), so i think it would be perfectly fine to host a tournament AND participate in it.


#13

Fuck your friend. Running tournaments sucks. With all the work that goes into it, I think you’ve earned the right to participate. If people believe you rig shit, they just won’t support you anymore.


#14

^ agreed. What the hell game would you be playing where you could cheat like that anyhow? Its not like you can stack the deck in a fighting game and then not cut it. Absolutely nothing wrong with someone hosting and then playing in it. Hell. Anytime I’ve hosted anything its because I WANT TO PLAY. Who wants to host a 10-30 man tournament and not get anything out of it? Its not like you are getting a cut to set shit up and provide tv and/or food anyhow. Basically I end up using a large part of my 1st place prize money to buy the drinks and food I provide during the tournament anyway… so 2nd place actual gets more than me lol. Without my winning everyone would be drinking tap instead of lagers/soda and crackers instead of pizza and wings.


#15

You could stack your pool I suppose, but it really doesn’t make shit difference because once the bads are eliminated you have to face good players either way.


#16

While I tend to agree with everyone that says that Capcom (or any other publisher) would be stupid to stop tournaments because it’s free publicity, it only takes one person at a publisher who doesn’t get how PR works to say “Hey… People are playing our game in public, and we’re not getting paid!” to send the cease and desist letter, and then it’s over.

Just trying to make 100% sure I’m covering my bases. =P


#17
  • it only takes one person at a publisher who doesn’t get how PR works to say “Hey… People are playing our game in public, and we’re not getting paid!” to send the cease and desist letter, and then it’s over.*

and then for the higher ups to say, “no shit you dumbfuck retard”

whats with people thinking they understand so deeply how law works? that situation literally could never, ever, ever happen.


#18

op is snitch


#19

dude, capcoms not going to do shit if you host a tourny using SF (look at evo 2k10 seth-k was there just chillin), the people you are renting the space from to hold the tourny are the people you need to be aware of.

Get a hosting space (hotel, ballroom, hangar, house, convention center, lan center, dudes trailer, arcade, ANYWHERE WITH OUTLETS A/C [if your from FL] and food!)

Rent it from the owner and let them know what you’re going to be doing there and how it will benefit them. (it has to benefit them/someone in some way)


#20

My university tried to shut down our gaming club’s tournaments for gambling, but the lawyer we hired says there’s no way they could be. Also, no publisher is going to keep you from playing a game at a tournament. If anything, tournaments are good for sales.