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PRESS RELEASE: ELN Announces Exclusive Collaboration with Renowned Esports Attorney Justin M. Jacobson, Esq.

Esports Legal News Announces Exclusive Collaboration with Renowned Esports Attorney Justin Jacobson, Esq.

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Justin M. Jacobson, Esq.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York/Zurich – Esports Legal News, a leading source for the latest insights and regulations in the esports legal landscape, is thrilled to announce a groundbreaking cooperation agreement with Justin M. Jacobson, Esq., a distinguished attorney in the fields of entertainment, esports, and video gaming law. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in providing exclusive and expert insights on U.S. law related to the rapidly evolving world of esports.

Justin M. Jacobson, admitted to the New York State Bar in 2012 and a Super Lawyer Rising Star in intellectual property law for the past seven years, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Esports Legal News. Specializing in entertainment, music, and esports player contracts, esports trademarks, and esports visas, Jacobson has negotiated millions of dollars in talent deals across various industries, including music, esports, sports, video games, television, film, fashion, art, and more.

His expertise extends to copyright, trademark, business, and immigration matters for celebrities, entertainers, athletes, esports players and coaches, fashion designers, stylists, and content creators. As an Adjunct Professor at several universities and a member of various boards and organizations within the esports community, Jacobson’s insights are both academically grounded and industry-informed.

Esports Legal News, known for its comprehensive coverage of esports legal topics, from doping and cheating to employment and immigration issues in the esports realm, is set to greatly benefit from Jacobson’s contributions. His exclusive topics on U.S. law will provide readers with unparalleled access to expert legal analysis and commentary in the field of esports.

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“We are excited to welcome Justin Jacobson to our platform. His extensive experience and deep understanding of the legal aspects of the esports industry make him an invaluable asset to our team and our readers,” said Leonid Shmatenko for Esports Legal News.

Justin M. Jacobson also expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating,

I am thrilled to join forces with Esports Legal News to provide cutting edge legal analysis and insight on a variety of topics. This collaboration allows me to share my legal expertise with a wider audience and contribute to the evolving discourse on esports law.”

This partnership promises to enhance the quality and depth of information available to professionals, enthusiasts, and stakeholders in the esports industry, reinforcing Esports Legal News’ position as a trusted source for esports legal news and insights.

About Esports Legal News

Esports Legal News is a premier online platform dedicated to providing the latest news, insights, and regulations in the world of esports law. Catering to a global audience, it offers in-depth analysis and commentary on a wide range of legal issues affecting the esports industry.

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About Justin M. Jacobson, Esq.

Justin M. Jacobson, Esq., is a New York-based attorney specializing in entertainment, esports, and video gaming law. With a career spanning over a decade, he has established himself as a leading figure in negotiating contracts and dealing with legal matters for clients in various entertainment and gaming sectors.

Contact Information:

For Esports Legal News: [email protected]

For Justin M. Jacobson, Esq.: [email protected]

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Websites:

https://esportslegal.news/

https://jmjesq.com/

Authors

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

  • Justin M. Jacobson

    Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. is an entertainment and esports attorney located in New York City. For the last decade, he has worked with professional athletes, musicians, producers, DJs, record labels, fashion designers, as well as professional gamers, streamers, coaches, on-air talent, and esports organizations. He assists these creative individuals with their contract, copyright, trademark, immigration, tax, and related business, marketing, and legal issues. He is a frequent contributor to many industry publications and has been featured on a variety of entertainment, music, and esports publications and podcasts, including Business Insider, The Esports Observer, Esports Insider, Tunecore, and Sport Techie. Justin has positioned himself as a top esports business professional working with talent in a variety of franchise leagues including the Overwatch League, Overwatch Contenders, and Call of Duty Pro League as well as in many popular competitive titles such as Fortnite, CS:GO, Gears of War, Halo, Super Smash Brothers, Rainbow 6, PUBG, Madden, and FIFA and mobile games such as Brawlhalla, Clash of Clans, and Call of Duty mobile. Previously, he worked with various esports talent agencies as well as in an official capacity on behalf of several esports teams and brands. He currently is an Adjunct Professor of Esports at University of North Carolina Wilmington, a member of the industry board for the International Journal of Esports and has authored “The Essential Guide to the Business & Law of Esports & Professional Video Gaming.”

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The Twisty Turnaround of F1 Esports 2023 – What Went Down and How It’s Getting Back on Track

In November 2023, the F1 Esports 2023 season embarked on what was anticipated to be a groundbreaking journey, only to encounter an unforeseen hiatus post its inaugural race. This article endeavors to dissect the multifaceted reasons behind the season’s temporary derailment, the legal intricacies involved, and the strategic maneuvers adopted for its resumption.

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F1 Esports 2023

The Preliminary Checkered Flag

The commencement of the F1 Esports 2023 season was met with considerable enthusiasm, underscored by Thomas Ronhaar‘s triumph in the initial race. However, the expected continuation in mid-December 2023 failed to materialize, leading to a period of unsettling silence from the organizing entities. This pause raised numerous questions regarding the sustainability and governance of esports tournaments.

The Core of the Controversy

Central to the cessation was a disagreement between Formula 1, the participating teams, and the mandated sponsorship conditions by Fanatec. The stipulation necessitated the display of Fanatec’s equipment in all team-related content, a directive that did not sit well with various stakeholders. The resultant financial discontent, primarily around the non-reimbursement of travel expenses, showed the underlying contractual and sponsorship dilemmas plaguing the esports domain.

This legal scenario shows the critical importance of robust, transparent contractual agreements in esports. It highlights the potential pitfalls of sponsorship agreements that may not fully align with the interests or expectations of all involved parties. Furthermore, it underscores the necessity for clear communication channels and dispute resolution mechanisms within the contractual framework to preemptively address and mitigate such impasses.

Strategies for Resurgence

In response to the hiatus, a restructured calendar was unveiled in April 2024, signaling a strategic pivot aimed at cost optimization and operational efficiency. This adaptive approach not only facilitated the season’s continuation but also prompted a broader reflection on the operational and legal frameworks governing esports tournaments.

The F1 Esports 2023 episode should be a case study for the esports industry, emphasizing the need for:

  • Comprehensive and flexible legal agreements that account for the dynamic nature of esports.
  • Enhanced clarity in sponsorship deals to ensure mutual understanding and expectations.
  • Proactive engagement with regulatory challenges and the adoption of best practices for dispute resolution.

Conclusion

The suspension of the F1 Esports 2023 season highlights the complex legal and operational obstacles found within the esports industry. As the field progresses, stakeholders must create a legal and regulatory framework that promotes sustainable growth, encourages innovation, and upholds the integrity of competitive esports.

Image source: Racefans.net

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Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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German Law: Is there a Legal Definition of “Esports” and is Esports Sports?

To address the legal question raised, it is essential to find a definition of “esports” in the law, if there is any.

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Is Esports Sports ELN

Introduction and Definition

In Germany, the term “esports” is not clearly defined by law. It is mentioned sporadically in legal texts such as Section 15 of the RennwLottDV  (Execution Ordinance to the Racing Betting and Lotteries Act):

“Chess and competitions between people with the aid of computer games, such as esports, are deemed to be sport within the meaning of paragraph 2.”

and Section 22 No. 5 of the BeschV:

“Persons who practise esports in the form of a competition between persons on a professional basis and whose involvement in German eSports clubs or comparable organisations participating in competitions is intended, if they:

[…]

c) the German umbrella organisation responsible for esports confirms the professional practice of esports and the form of eSports practised is of significant national or international importance, […]”

Although it is often used as an abbreviation for electronic sports, esports, its meaning is not consistently understood due to regulatory factors. It typically means participating in the competitive playing of video or computer games, particularly on computers and consoles, following certain rules. The commonly held belief recognizes three basic components:

■ The physical performance of the player at the input device

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■ In response to the screen content

■ While simultaneously mentally mastering the game’s sequence.1

Esports can be therefore defined as a

“an area of sport activities in which people develop and train mental or physical abilities in the use of information and communication technologies.”2

Although there is largely consensus on this definition, numerous individual questions remain controversial. This is partly due to the diverse nature of computer games that can be part of esports. Regardless, esports should correctly be defined broadly as “competition between people using computer games.”3

Classification of Esports as Sports

There is also a debate about whether esports should be categorized as “traditional sports”. The German Olympic Committee and legal scholars are currently of the opinion that it is not.4

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Defintion of Sports under German law

Similar to esports, sports is a concept that is referenced in multiple laws but lacks a clear legal definition. The only definition can be located in Section 15 para. 2 sentence 1 of the RennwLottDV, specific to the Racing Betting and Lotteries Act and not applicable across the board. A precise definition has not been established by either sports science or legal scholarship. Hence, an interpretation is necessary.

Historical Meaning

The word “sport” comes from the Latin words “disportare” or “deportare,” which mean “to carry away” or “to bring away,” and can be interpreted as “to relax.” Nevertheless, this is not enough to constitute a thorough legal definition.

Sports Science

Sports science has attempted numerous definitions, yet no uniform definition exists.

The now non-existent Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) used a specific definition to recognize sports and their federations, emphasizing a competitive element based on skill, strategy, and physical prowess while excluding luck as a primary factor. The GAISF prioritizes athlete well-being and safety, alongside ethical considerations, including the humane treatment of animals involved in sports. It also mandates that no sport should be dependent on exclusive equipment from a single supplier, promoting fairness and accessibility.

The EU Commission’s White Paper on Sport similarly defines “sport” as

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“all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.”

Thus, although there is no standard definition of sports science, there are shared qualities found in various definitions. The idea of sports is based on physical activity as well as the desire for performance, competition, and comparison.

Legal academic research has also for a long time aimed to determine the meaning of the idea of sports. In legal circles, it is widely agreed that sports encompass all physical activities done for fun, fitness, enjoyment of competition and performance, as well as adherence to rules and organizational structures. The pursuit of excellence is also recognized by legal scholarship as a key feature of sports. In this context, Section 15 para. 2 sentence 1 of the RennwLottDV defines sports, for its purposes, as

“physical exertion by a person or a person together with a trained or conditioned animal, exceeding usual levels, marked by externally observable efforts or by movements attributable to personal skill.”

Conclusion

Important characteristics of the legal idea of sports encompass physical activity, competition or striving for performance, typically accompanied by rules and various organizational structures, and involvement for the sake of enjoyment rather than with a productive motive.

The legal definition of sports closely mirrors the definition in sports science. Both sectors concur that physical activity is typically pursued as a goal in its own right rather than for financial gain. Nevertheless, the different efforts to define sports show that the concept cannot be clearly defined. Due to the absence of defined boundaries for the legal understanding of sports, a typological method is needed. According to definitions in sports science, important characteristics of the legal concept of sports have been recognized, including physical activity, competition or striving for performance, typically with rules and organization, and involvement for its own sake rather than for productivity.

So does Esports qualify as Sports under German law?

Given the context provided and the analysis of both esports and traditional sports under German law, it is apparent that esports aligns with many fundamental characteristics of what constitutes sports. Specifically:

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  • Physical Performance: Both traditional sports and esports involve physical performance, albeit in different forms. For esports, physical performance is demonstrated through the agility and precision required at the input device in response to game dynamics.
  • Competitive Element: Esports fulfills the competitive criterion essential to sports, where individuals or teams compete under a structured set of rules to achieve victory.
  • Regulation and Organization: Similar to traditional sports, esports operates within a framework of rules and is organized into clubs, leagues, and tournaments, indicating a level of formal organization comparable to conventional sports.
  • Skill and Strategy: Just as traditional sports require skill, strategy, and physical prowess (excluding luck as a primary factor), esports demands mental agility, strategic planning, and in-depth knowledge of game mechanics.
  • Physical Fitness and Mental Well-being: The EU Commission’s definition of sports as activities aiming to improve physical fitness and mental well-being can also apply to esports. Although the physical exertion may not be as intense as in traditional sports, the strategic thinking, quick reflexes, and mental stamina required for esports contribute to cognitive abilities and can influence mental well-being.
  • Social Relationships: Participation in esports, like traditional sports, fosters social relationships. Team-based games and the community aspect of esports events create social bonds among players and fans alike.

However, there remains a debate, particularly within bodies like the German Olympic Committee, regarding the categorization of esports as “traditional sports.” This hesitation seems rooted not in the physical versus mental exertion debate but in the historical and cultural recognition of what constitutes a sport.

Given the evolving nature of sports and the inclusion of new disciplines that adapt to technological advancements and changing social dynamics, esports shows considerable overlap with the established criteria defining traditional sports. Despite the current official stance in some quarters, the parallels suggest that esports could be recognized as sports, especially as perceptions and definitions continue to evolve in response to societal changes.

Image source: EScholar

  1. Francken/Nothelfer/Schlotthauer, NZA 2019, 865. ↩︎
  2. Shmatenko, eSports – ‘It’s in the Game’: The Naissance of a new Field of International Arbitration (April 29, 2021). 40 under 40 International Arbitration 2021, González-Bueno, Carlos (ed.), 393-410, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3836741 ↩︎
  3. Nothelfer, LR 2020, 276, 278 ↩︎
  4. Fischer, Rechtsfragen einer Anerkennung des e-Sports als gemeinnützig, 2019, p. 41 ff., and statement by Prof. Dr Carmen Borggrefe and a further 80 sports scientists, https://cdn.dosb.de/UEber_uns/eSport/Stellungnahme-zum-eSport.pdf. ↩︎

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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Esports World Cup Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Sony Group Corporation

The Esports World Cup Foundation (EWCF) has secured a significant partnership with Sony Group Corporation (Sony) to collaborate on initiatives for the upcoming Esports World Cup 2024. This multi-year agreement leverages Sony’s extensive experience in gaming hardware, entertainment, and content creation to amplify the EWC’s vision of uniting the global gaming and esports communities.

The partnership highlights both parties’ commitment to expanding the appeal of esports and gaming for players and fans worldwide. The inaugural Esports World Cup is scheduled to take place this summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Esports World Cup Sony

Sony to Enhance Esports World Cup with Entertainment and Content Creation

Sony Pictures Entertainment will produce a captivating behind-the-scenes documentary series to showcase the players and games featured at the Esports World Cup. Additionally, Sony and Sony Interactive Entertainment will explore opportunities to support up-and-coming creators and esports talent within the region. Sony Music Entertainment will have the honor of producing the official anthem for the Esports World Cup 2024.

“Sony is the ideal partner for the Esports World Cup,” said Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation.

“Our goal is to establish a global platform for esports and gaming that sets new standards for live esports events. Sony’s experience in creating stunning visuals, engaging music, compelling storytelling, and state-of-the-art technology will be a game-changer for the Esports World Cup. The EWC aims to take esports to the next level, and we are thrilled to count on Sony’s world class expertise in this endeavor”

Sony and EWC Share Commitment to Growing Esports Fandom

Toshimoto Mitomo, Executive Deputy President and CSO of Sony Group Corporation, echoed this sentiment:

“We’re excited to make the Esports World Cup more fun and engaging for fans globally by harnessing the creativity and technology from across our diverse businesses. Sony has been enhancing the esports experience especially with Sony Interactive Entertainment’s initiatives such as PlayStation Tournaments and the annual EVO fighting game series. We look forward to further catering to this growing, global community of players and fans with the Esports World Cup.”

Esports World Cup Unveils Unprecedented Format and Prize Pool

The Esports World Cup promises to be an unprecedented celebration of competitive gaming and esports fandom. This summer, top esports organizations will converge in Riyadh to compete across a unique cross-game format for the largest prize pool ever offered in esports history. The EWC recently announced the inclusion of ten popular titles – Dota 2, Counter-Strike 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Honor of Kings, PUBG, PUBG Mobile, Overwatch, Free Fire, Rocket League, Fortnite, and Rainbow Six Siege – with more titles to be confirmed soon.

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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