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Streaming, Broadcasting, Publishing, And Displaying A Video Game Of Others Is Illegal Without Permission.

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  1. Is it legal to stream without permission of the video game company?

  2. Is it legal to stream without permission of other players involved?

  3. Is it legal to stream my game play without any other players involved?

  4. Can I do it, since I see others publishing & broadcasting (blog, stream, books, video clips, etc.) all the time?



  1. Since the game content is copyrighted, and probably has trademarks within, then any streams you do without prior authorization of the content or game developer is illegal.  A game may have a clause in their terms that allows streamers to record and broadcast the game play, or do live stream, and may even allow one and not the other or have limitations on time frame and ways of usage or locations, etc.  Also, NO, it does NOT automatically fall into legal Fair Use privileges. Fair Use privileges would be if you included content (images, video clips, text, etc.) as a reference or an example for an article or video on the subject, and the content referenced NOT be a significant portion of your content of your article or stream, or broadcast, or blog, etc.

    Note that any game clause or developer clause does not release you from your legal responsibility to other players, which means you still need other player's permission if their name (even if just a display name), image, avatar, or anything identifying that player is displayed, or mentioned (verbally or via text).  Broadcasting the other player's communication won't be legal either without their permission.  Their communication can be considered as privileged, and thus private. 

    You still need other player's permission, EVEN IF the game company or related content owner entity includes a clause saying you can stream their content or broadcast it, and any other player info is their property and you are given the right to do so.  Such a clause by a content developer granting you permission of other's privacy or character data will be thrown out in court by any judge because it will be considered an Unfair Clause and not legally binding.  Make sure you take this point from this article that even if a clause is in the terms of an agreement, it does not mean that clause is effective.  This happens all the time.  People and inexperienced companies think they can put anything into a legal contract, and that simply is not so, and if a clause is deemed an unfair clause, it will be thrown out in court during a legal case.

  2. No, you cannot stream or broadcast other person's name, image, or anything that is identified with that person without their permission. Some kind of permission like a Model Release would need to be gotten from every player involved within the game play prior to making the content public.  Other than potentially getting sued for privacy related reasons for making a person info public, if anything is mentioned to defame the person, or simply broadcasting their bad game play caused harm to that person's character or public image, then that can also be additional reasons for a lawsuit under Slander and Libel laws.

    If you are able to blur out the display name shown on a person's game avatar, and make sure no mention of their name or voice occurs, then you may potentially be able to do the broadcast (streaming or prerecorded), but you would still need the permission of the content developer or whatever entity that has the rights to the game content.  Remember that game play content is NOT PUBLIC data, and it is private, and can also be considered as legally Privileged.  The statement of this paragraph is made with the assumption that the avatar is not unique to the other player.  If the avatar is unique or in any way it's graphics identifies the other player, then you would need to also blur out or block the avatar image from showing; unless you got a broadcast release, a model release, or something giving you permission.

    Note that an avatar not showing a person's real name does not protect you from liability.  That game display name is still considered as uniquely identifying .

  3. You can publish and/or live stream your content that does not involve others only if the entity owning the game content has provided a written clause saying that you can publish and/or broadcast (stream or prerecorded).  This clause may be already within the game terms, or such a permission may require your communication with the entity owning the game content.  Sometimes multiple entities are involved in various portions of game content, and brands, and you may need permission from all entities involved.

  4. You cannot do it legally.  Big difference between what you are allowed or have legal rights to do (what you may do) versus what you can do.  Those you see doing it may have gotten permissions needed, or are ignorantly doing it and are at risk of very expensive lawsuits that will cost them for years. Once a you get sued for violations related to infringement, copyrights, defamation, etc., and judgement gotten, then your wages can be taken, and all property you own can get a lien on them.



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