International Esports Law: Are People Going To Jail For Boosting?

Dec 16, 2018

South Korea boosting esports law - accompanying picture Have you heard about South Korea’s new esports law? Catch this: Players may land themselves a prison sentence for “boosting.” But is the statute as terrible as it seems? Moreover, how will it affect the U.S. esports industry, if at all? Let’s take a look.

What is Boosting?

Essentially, boosting is when players are paid to play on another person’s account to rank them up. As esports grows, analysts predict that the practice could become a problem.

South Korea’s New Esports Law: No Boosting

In 2017, South Korean officials passed the Game Industry Promotion Act. Recently, politicians added an amendment that outlaws boosting. Under the new rule, violators will incur a 20 million won fine (US $18,000), plus a possible two-year suspended prison sentence.

Specifically, the bill — which takes effect in six months — outlaws “an act that interferes with the normal operation of the game by arranging or providing the service to acquire the score or performance of the game in a way that is not approved by the game-related business operated.”

What!? Are South Korean Officials Crazy!?

At face value, the law may seem outrageous. But here’s the thing: in SK, to access the Internet, residents must first enter the equivalent of their social security number. As such, boosting isn’t just an esports issue; it also represents an Internet law violation.

That said, South Korea is a colossal esports market — and competition is fierce. In fact, so-called “surrogate” players establish businesses and advertise their services. As such, this new esports law will likely have a noticeable effect.

What Do U.S. Game Developers Think of SK’s New Esports Law?

It’s likely that U.S. game developers, with mutual interests in curbing boosting, will welcome the new SK standard. Take Riot Game’s reaction: “This law will help us catch them even better once it’s passed.”

Connect With An International Esports Lawyer

The Gordon Law Group is a leading international esports law firm. We work with athletes, teams, sponsors, and industry investors.

Whether you need assistance with a contractual matter, tax positioning, or anything transactional in-between, our legal team is here to help. We know the industry, inside and out, and work hard to remain on top of the latest regulatory changes, on both the league and governmental levels.

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