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Broadcasting State Treaty and Esport Streams?

Over the past year, there has been a lot of discussion in the games industry about whether professional YouTubers or Twitch streamers may need a broadcasting license.

The topic is no longer cooked so hot, as the current draft of the new Broadcasting State Treaty provides for large exceptions for streamers.

After that, a new section 20b should be inserted as follows:

Section 20 b Small radio broadcasting

(1) No authorisation is needed 1. Broadcasting programmes which, due to their limited journalistic and editorial design, their limited duration and frequency of distribution, their lack of involvement in a permanent broadcasting plan or for other comparable reasons, are limited in their to be important for individual and public opinion-forming, 2. radio programmes which, in any event, are offered to less than 5000 users for simultaneous reception;

3. Radio programmes on the Internet which regularly reach less than 20,000 viewers on average per month [or are mainly used to demonstrate and comment on the playing of a virtual game].

The competent state media institution confirms the freedom of admission on request by means of a safety certificate.

(2) The state media institutions shall regulate the details in order to specify the freedom to be approved in accordance with paragraph 1 by statute.

(3) Radio programmes displayed exclusively on the Internet before the entry into force of the Twenty-third Broadcasting Amendment Treaty shall be deemed to be approved programmes in accordance with Paragraph 20.

According to the express will, this regulation is intended to concern streams which are ‘ primarily used todemonstrate and comment on the playing of a virtual game‘.

Although there is still a need for small discussions as things stand, this draft has now been approved and is likely to enter into force in May 2019, according to current status. Streamers who rate and comment on games should be out of the way, according to my current knowledge.

What is questionable, however, is what it looks like with an esport broadcast, which of course also shows a game, but usually also contains much more, namely discussions, interviews, evaluations, broadcasts from a single stage, editorial content, which is often quite a matter of broadcast schedule and hopefully will have well over 5000 users in the future.

Match Fixing in Esport: Legal Consequences?

Similarly, after the great debate about the evaluation as a sport and the importance in society, the esports industry would like to rest on the exception that a transmission has little significance for the individual
and public opinion-forming.

Admittedly, an authorisation is then quite possible, albeit with costs, but the operators must then, for example, take into account, for example, the basic requirements of the advertising right established in the RStV, namely the requirement of separation and recognition, according to which, for example, editorial Moving image content and commercial content must be clearly separated from each other. In addition, there must be no mixing of actual sent content and advertising. The latter must also be easily recognisable as such. In addition, the ban on sneaking advertising must always be observed.

In addition, the regulations of the Youth Media Protection State Treaty (JMStV) are particularly popular for the advertising industry, such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike. According to this provision, offers that endanger young people may not be disseminated or made available. In the case of development-depairing offers, care must be taken to ensure that minors of the age group concerned do not normally perceive them. In unencrypted television and telemedia, therefore, the standardised transmission time limits of the JMStV apply.

In addition, the relationship between the USK marking of the video game and the age limit regulations of the JMStV is unclear when it comes to age classification. There is much to suggest that the USK marking should not be used, but that an independent evaluation of the new report produced by the moderated stream and the compilations should be carried out, since the filmed events are only passively and the lack of interactivity does not have the same effect as the play itself.

Whether the authorities, the courts or the admissions commission see it that way remains to be seen. So far, the biggest legal commentary on this is still silent.

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What do you think?

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Written by Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel specializes in the areas of competition law, copyright law and IT/IP law and specializes in computer games, sports, marketing and streamers/influencers. He supports start-ups in their development, assists them with all legal problems and supports them in business development.

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