The final battle of the game live broadcast industry: copyright norms or life or death


Guide: In order to promote the healthy and healthy development of the game live broadcast industry, in August 2019, Tencent Games launched the anchor certification program, giving official certification and rights to the anchors of Douyu, Huya, and Penguin E-sports. Recently, the second phase of the anchor certification program was launched to help star anchors “out of the circle” and also to support mid-waist anchors. Non-Tencent tentacle live broadcasts have also been added to the plan. What changes will the second phase of the anchor certification program bring to the live game industry?

2019 is a year when the awareness of copyright in the game live broadcast industry has awakened and the standardization of live broadcast has made substantial progress.

The game live broadcast industry originated in the early era of the Internet and flourished in the era of the mobile Internet. After experiencing early barbaric growth, chaotic image rectification, and the “thousands of broadcasts”, the industry pattern has basically been shaped, and a “two super and many strong” situation has also formed. Reached the final decisive stage. Recently, the second phase of the Tencent Game Anchor Certification Program was launched. The announcements include PDD, Zhang Daxian, and others who are not asking for help. The battle around live broadcast copyright is becoming increasingly fierce, and this may become the winner of the final battle of the game live broadcast industry.

Three parties make efforts, copyright consciousness of game broadcasting industry begins to awaken

The “In-depth Research Report on Business Model Innovation and Investment Opportunities in China’s Online Live Broadcasting Industry” released by the Foresight Industry Research Institute shows that the size of China’s game live broadcast market reached 13.19 billion yuan in 2018, an increase of 62.6% year-on-year, and is expected to exceed 20 billion yuan in 2020.

Behind the rapid growth of the market size, it is the infringement of the game live broadcast industry that restricts the healthy and standardized development of the industry.

Since September 2012, YY Live broadcasts “Dream Westward Journey 2” without the authorization of NetEase, and pushes some similar page games advertisements to the live broadcast room.

In 2018, Watermelon Video publicly recruited the anchor of “Glory of the King” and provided virtual gift recharge purchase services such as “Like” and “Ferris Wheel”.

Such cases are not alone. Early live broadcast platforms often broadcast games without the authorization of manufacturers, and use games for profit and diversion, and most of them have not adopted rights protection measures. As the development of the game live broadcast industry matures, the industry has also started to pay attention to the copyright norms of the game live broadcast industry, and copyright consciousness has gradually formed.

The above two infringement cases were appealed by the infringed party. In 2014, NetEase sued YY Live. In November 2018, Tencent sued three companies associated with Watermelon Video.

By 2019, game makers represented by Tencent and Netease are increasingly active and proactive in defending rights infringement issues in the live broadcast industry. Taking Tencent as an example, on February 14, 2019, Tencent released the “Announcement on the Standardization of Live Broadcasting Behavior”, and within 4 months of the “Announcement”, it carried out 7 rights defenses.

While game companies are actively defending their rights, the judicial community has also given a strong response at the legal level.

In 2017, NetEase v. YY Live Broadcasting, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court made a first instance judgment and ruled that YY Live Broadcasting stopped broadcasting “Dream Westward Journey 2”. The court held that large-scale, multiplayer online games such as electronic games involved in the case are “electrical works” and should be protected by law; on January 31, 2019, Tencent v. Watermelon Video, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court made a judgment, and the company involved must Stop the “Glory of the King” game live broadcast immediately. This is the first behavioral injunction in the live broadcast industry; on July 23, 2019, Tencent v. Volcano Small Video Case, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court issued a ruling demanding that Volcano Small Video stop broadcasting “Glory of the King”. The court ruled that the player’s operation in “Glory of the King” simply called the content of the resource library, and the continuous pictures formed during the game’s running were the preset content of the game creator.

In the above three judgment cases, the court’s judgment all supported the game manufacturers. They believed that the live video of the game was protected by copyright, and the live broadcast platform did not have the authorization of the manufacturer, which constituted a fact of infringement.

The increasing number of legal disputes involving copyright disputes over live games has also aroused the attention of academic circles. Academia has held several seminars to discuss the ownership of live game copyrights.

On August 31, 2019, a seminar on intellectual property protection in the gaming industry was held in Shanghai. At the same time, the “Whitepaper for the Game Live Industry” was released. In response to copyright disputes in the game live broadcast industry, the White Paper puts forward many suggestions, such as improving the Copyright Law, and including online game screens and game live screens within the protection of “audiovisual works”.

Five days after the release of the White Paper, a seminar on competition and development in the game live broadcast industry was also held in Beijing. The seminar focused on the issue of “whether game live streaming is infringing” and released the “Compliance Risk Report of the Game Live Broadcasting Industry”. Judge Zhu Ge of the Second Trial Chamber of the Beijing Internet Court held that if the live video of the game is only a display of game presets and player skills, without adding new expressions, then it cannot constitute a work, and does not contain the player’s originality. The “Report” also made similar suggestions to the “White Paper”, perfected relevant laws and regulations, and actively promoted industry autonomy.

In September, a seminar on the protection of intellectual property rights in online game content was held at Peking University. Professor Lu Haijun of the University of International Business and Economics proposed that the four-factor standard in the United States, the three-step test method, China’s legal regulations, and judicial practice cannot support the view that game live streaming is a transitional use, so game live streaming does not fall into the category of fair use.

On the issue of copyright of game live broadcast, the academic community has reached a basic consensus: game live broadcast does not fall into the category of fair use. Without the authorization of the manufacturer, the live game behavior constitutes infringement.

Judging from a series of actions such as the more active protection of rights by the industry, the judgment of the judiciary for infringement cases, the in-depth study of the academic world and the release of live broadcast industry specifications, in 2019, the copyright awareness of the live broadcast industry has gradually formed.

Tigers and fish fight, tentacles are catching up

Under the efforts of the industry, the judiciary, and the academic community on copyright norms, the game live broadcast platform has also formed copyright awareness, began to actively and actively seek cooperation with game manufacturers, and reached some cooperation in 2019.

The “Research Report on China’s Game Live Broadcasting Industry 2019” released by iResearch shows that the most popular game live streaming platform is game-related sectors, accounting for up to 56.8%. The distribution of head anchors is basically the same as the distribution of popular channels. The top anchors with a ToP1000 ranking of over 60% are mainly concentrated on live game channels.

Among them, a large number of head game anchors are from the area of ​​King Glory and League of Legends.

It can be seen from the above data that the live broadcast of game content is the core content of the game live broadcast platform. The live broadcast rights of Tencent-based games represented by the glory of the king will have a significant impact on the live broadcast industry landscape.

The “Game Live Broadcasting Industry White Paper” states that live broadcast games have become the hardest hit areas for frequent copyright infringement, because the live broadcast games involve many subjects, and the rights and obligations of each subject in the copyright law are intricate and complex.

At present, the game live broadcast industry is headed by Douyu and Huya, and tentacles, quick hands, and penguin gaming are closely following. In actively seeking cooperation with manufacturers and actively avoiding copyright risks, Douyu and Huya also responded significantly faster.

Tencent Games launched the anchor certification program in August 2019. For outstanding creators who are willing to create content based on Tencent games for a long time, the Tencent Game Anchor Certification Program will give official identity certification and four major rights. At the same time, Tencent will continue to optimize the development of tools and products for anchors, such as opening short video automatic editing and generation tools for certified anchors, helping certified anchors to produce more excellent content distribution at low cost to expand their exposure and influence. .

This undoubtedly provides a better idea for the standardized and healthy development of the live broadcast industry. Tencent’s official resources will bring more exposure to the anchor; while the anchor gets the exposure, it can also use high-quality game content and its own influence to bring more traffic to the platform and bring more exposure to game products. It is reported that more than 400 anchors have joined the two-stage anchor certification plan, and more than 100 anchors have obtained Tencent’s special exposure and event resources. In commercial cooperation, certified anchors have obtained a total of more than 170 business orders in the past two months, accumulating revenue. Tens of millions.

Huya, Douyu and Penguin E-sports three live streaming platforms joined Tencent’s game anchor certification program as soon as possible.

The first list of certified anchors announced by Tencent mainly involves the three major platforms of Douyu, Huya and Penguin. Penguin is the official platform of Tencent, while Douyu and Huya are closely linked to Tencent at the capital level, and their relationship with Tencent is obviously very close. Long before the anchor certification plan was released, Douyu and Huya cooperated with Tencent several times.

Since 2016, Douyu has received Tencent’s investment of more than 1.5 billion US dollars three times, and has successively won the live broadcast rights of major games such as League of Legends, Glory of Kings, Royal Wars, Naruto and other games.

In 2018, Huya received a US $ 460 million investment from Tencent. Since 2017, Huya has hosted or broadcasted many e-sports events such as Tencent, and reached strategic cooperation with WeGame. Huya ’s overseas platform NIMO TV also reached a strategic cooperation agreement with Tencent Games to jointly develop overseas games and game live streaming business.

Backed by the e-sports events of Tencent’s well-known games, Douyu and Huya also attracted a number of head anchors to sign in, and signed well-known e-sports teams such as IG, RNG, OMG, RW Xia, and AG Super Club.

The two giants Douyu and Huya, who are the first echelon of the game live broadcast industry, have already obtained the live broadcast rights of Tencent games, and the prospects are unclear. The second echelon of the game live broadcast industry, which is fast hand, tentacle, and penguin gaming, has different prospects.

On November 27, 2019, the game live streaming platform Tentacle reached a cooperation with Tencent. Tentacle has obtained a derivative content license for Tencent’s full game, and its platform anchor will also receive support from Tencent’s game certification anchor plan. This is the first live streaming platform to reach a game-derived content cooperation with Tencent through a licensing agreement.

Different from the two giants Douyu and Huya of the live broadcast platform, Tentacle does not have any capital relationship with Tencent. Therefore, this cooperation with Tencent not only marks that the game content copyright awareness in the live broadcast industry has become the general consciousness of the industry, the game live broadcast platform began Launching the live broadcast business under the authorization of game manufacturers also represents that Tencent cooperates with the live broadcast platform with an open attitude. This also provides a reference model for the rest of the game live broadcast platforms: in terms of content construction, the live broadcast platform can seek in-depth cooperation with game manufacturers, and the win-win cooperation between the two parties.

Despite the cooperation model, the platforms of the second echelon obviously do not all have a good foundation for cooperation with Tencent. The platforms represented by the volcano video and the watermelon video have had “foreign affairs” infringing Tencent’s game copyrights. It is difficult to say whether this will add some resistance to the cooperation between the platform and Tencent.

Although there is no such resistance in Kuaishou, from the perspective of user value, platform attributes and quality of anchors, Kuaishou who started in short-town culture and started with short videos is obviously not dominant.

According to the “Analysis Report on the Game Live Broadcasting Platform Data Industry in the Q1 of 2019” released by Bida Consulting, currently, the top 52,000 head anchor distribution platforms are Huya, Douyu, Kuaishou, B Station and Touch Music.

When it comes to head anchors, the guild cannot be avoided. At present, the guild ranks in the top three guilds. Dae Culture, Xuanshi Huyu and Yuwan Media have more friendly relationships with platforms such as Douyu and Huya, and their tentacles are also more friendly.

Judging from the attributes of the anchor’s platform, Tencent’s anchor certification plan has clearly benefited from Huya and Douyu.

From the perspective of Tencent’s game copyright resources, tentacles that have a licensing agreement with Tencent, and Penguin E-sports that rely on Tencent have great advantages.

From the perspective of user stickiness and core user community value, it is clear that Douyu and Huya, who are deeply immersed in the mobile game live broadcast tentacles and hold multiple game rights and head anchors, have more say.

Although Kuaishou ranks third, it does not have an advantage in all aspects. Take, for example, the head anchor of the fast player King Glory Hi, who signed an exclusive cooperation agreement with Huya in 2016. In 2017, he unilaterally announced that he would leave Huya and broadcast live on other platforms, which constituted a unilateral breach of contract and was sued by Huya.

The “Announcement on the Standardization of Live Broadcasting Behavior” issued by Tencent clearly stated that anchors are strictly forbidden to breach the contract for no reason, and those who do not abide by the contract spirit will be held accountable and severely punished. According to the current development trend, the default anchor may be banned from playing Tencent games.

Judging from the data disclosed by Bida Consulting’s “Q1 2019 Game Live Platform Data Industry Analysis Report”, among the types of game live broadcasts in Q1 of Q19, the main live broadcast games with higher popularity and higher income are all Tencent games.

Once banned from Tencent games, it means that the value of the anchor will be greatly reduced. In terms of the quality of the anchor, after all, the fast hand is a rising star. It may take some time to catch up with the gap between Huya, Douyu, and tentacles. Relying on anchors escaping from platforms such as Douyu and Huya, they will face the penalty of banning Tencent games; if they choose to spend huge sums to buy anchors, they will not be able to beat the old games such as Douyu, Huya, Penguin E-sports, etc. Platform, facing greater risks. If you want to gain a foothold in the live broadcast industry, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go for fast players.

In summary, only the Tentacle and Penguin E-sports currently have tickets to the final battle in the second echelon.

After the thousand broadcast war, the live broadcast industry has gone through the era of contenders and slowly moved to an era of more standardized and refined operations. The war on the future live broadcast platform will be a war around the copyright of game live broadcast. Whoever gets more vendor resources and live broadcast rights can become the boss. At present, the core competition of the live broadcast platform should continue between Huya, Douyu, Tentacle, and Penguin E-sports.

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