Marian Härtel
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As a teenager, make e-sports men/streamers self-employed?

The industry of streamers and e-sports enthusiasts is very young compared to other industries and therefore also for lawyers and courts often ask questions of the protection of minors. One aspect of the protection of minors is often overlooked, namely that of the limited ability of persons under the age of 18.

What does the law regulate?

Although many under-18s often feel willing to take responsibility for themselves, the German Civil Code regulates that minors from the age of 7 to the age of 18(Section 106 of the German Civil Code) are limited in their ability to do business. Most legal transactions that close with limited business are therefore ineffective if they are not concluded with the consent of the legal representative, such as the parents. In doing so, the parents may also agree to a legal transaction retrospectively, i.e. approve it.Section 183, Section 184 BGB), however, this means a great deal of legal uncertainty for business partners and it therefore makes it difficult to conclude contracts, for example if a young streamer wants to conclude sponsorship agreements or if an under-18-year-old wants to lead an esports team. This also applies in particular, since in the event that a contracting party requests the consented party to declare the approval, it can only be issued within 2 weeks. Otherwise, it shall apply in accordance with (Section 108 para. 2 BGB) as denied.

What are the exceptions?

Pursuant to Section 165 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a limited minor with limited legal capacity may be fully capable of doing business if he is authorised to do so by a legal representative. According to Section 165 of the German Civil Code (BGB), he can also act as a fully business-ready representative for adults, e.g. for his parents.

Another exception applies to declarations of intent, which are only legally (not necessarily financially!) advantageous. This includes, for example, the assumptions of certain gifts, provided that these gifts do not trigger further duties of the young person, such as conservation, disposal, animal welfare or if these gifts require official approvals.

It should also be known that restricted minors may enter into legal transactions if they effect by means left to them for that purpose or for their free disposal by the legal representative or with the consent of third parties. Are. This is regulated in Section 110, the so-called pocket money clauses.

Even if Section 165 of the German Civil Code could be constructed in such a way that, for example, the parents are official operators of the YouTube account, the Twitch channel or the esports team, the solution is usually not very practical and only makes a conditionally professional Impression.

How does it work better?

A possibility that is not easy to design but quite relevant is the use of Section 112 of the German Civil Code (BGB). This provision allows the legal representative, with the permission of the Family Court, to authorise the minor to operate a commercial business independently. The minor is then fully capable of doing business for such legal transactions, which the business entails. The good thing is that the authorization can only be withdrawn by the representative with the permission of the Family Court.

Also helpful, for example, for esports teams is that the authorization according to Section 112 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is then also possible for employment and employment relationships. The minor cannot have only his own trainees! A young person could therefore have an esport team and conclude player contracts themselves, formally effective and legally binding.

The decision of the Family Court is intended to ensure that the minor has the skills and knowledge necessary to manage a business and that he has full responsibility for all his legal decisions. can take over.

The consequence of the approval by the Family Court is that the minor is then fully legally responsible for tax, business permit and all legal transactions of his company such as rental contracts, employment contracts, sales contracts or supply contracts. and cannot rely on the fact that he is a minor and that the transactions and declarations of intent on his part are therefore legally ineffective.

The construction should therefore be accompanied by a lawyer.

And otherwise?

What there is to consider, if you want to employ young people, e.g. as esports players or streamers, I will cover in a separate article.

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Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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