Overwatch League may be attempting to use free artwork, labor again

Source: Activision Blizzard


The Overwatch League may be attempting to get free labor once again.


Back in March, the Overwatch community grew frustrated with the Overwatch League over the conditions of an art contest. It seemed innocent enough at first, with the winner of an art contest getting $500 and their fan art used on various merch sold in the Overwatch League shop. 


But the Overwatch fandom soon lashed out at Blizzard for not offering royalties to the winner of the art contest. To give an artist just $500 and be able to make a profit off of their designs in the merch store seemed very unfair to many. What was even worse is that the rules and conditions of the competition stated Blizzard could even use art that didn't win, meaning they were allowed to use it without paying the artist at all. 


The Overwatch League account came back with a correction, admitting fault for the questionable contest. But now it seems the Overwatch League team is at it again, this time with freelance articles, videos, and more. 


After reading through the Certificate of Results & Proceeds handed out by Blizzard, a freelancer covering the upcoming Overwatch League tournament noticed some wording that they didn't like. According to Robert Paul, the language used in the document indicates that freelancers' work is "no longer their own work" and can be sold or used in various ways by Blizzard. This means that even if a freelancer takes a photograph for a certain publication, Blizzard has the right to use said photo on playing cards, t-shirts, and other merch if the freelancer signs the document. 


"You are well within your rights to present alterations to this language, including duration, scope, and degree of rights made available. I am not a lawyer. But the money spent on having one review and adjust documents like these is worth every penny," Paul advised. 



After some members of the esports community asked Paul to clarify what he had read, Paul shared these alleged exact words from the Blizzard document: "OWL shall be the sole and exclusive owner of all rights, title, and interest, including all intellectual property and proprietary rights, in and to the Photographer/Videographer's Work Product." 


This information is still relatively unknown to the wide Overwatch League audience, but Paul is hoping it will act as a warning to content creators and freelancers looking to take part in the upcoming Overwatch League tournament. 


With this being the second time within a few months that Blizzard has attempted to gain free access to art and other labor, the community has become quite frustrated with the company and its handling of the Overwatch League in full. 

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