Overwatch League may be trying to use free art, work again

Source: Activision Blizzard

The Overwatch League may be trying to get free labor again.

In March, the Overwatch community was frustrated with the Overwatch League over the terms of an art contest. It seemed innocent enough at first, with the winner of an art contest receiving $500 and having their fan art used on various merchandise sold in the Overwatch League store.

But the Overwatch fandom quickly criticized Blizzard for not offering royalties to the winner of the art contest. Giving an artist just $500 and being able to cash in on their creations in the merchandise store seemed very unfair to many. What was even worse was that the rules and conditions of the contest stated that Blizzard could even use the art that didn’t win, which meant that they were allowed to use it without paying l ‘artist.

The Overwatch League account came back with a correction, admitting fault for the questionable contest. But now, it looks like the Overwatch League team is in on the action again, this time with indie articles, videos, and more.

After reading the results and product certificate given out by Blizzard, a freelancer covering the upcoming Overwatch League tournament noticed some wording he didn’t like. According to Robert Paul, the language used in the document indicates that the freelancers’ work “is no longer their own work” and may be sold or otherwise used by Blizzard. This means that even if a freelancer takes a photo for a certain publication, Blizzard has the right to use said photo on playing cards, t-shirts, and other merchandise if the freelancer signs the document.

“You have every right to submit changes to this language, including the duration, scope and degree of rights made available. I am not a lawyer. But the money spent to have documents reviewed and adjusted like these are worth every penny,” advised Paul.

After some members of the esports community asked Paul to clarify what he had read, Paul shared these purportedly exact words from the Blizzard document: “OWL will be the sole and exclusive owner of all right, 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 wider Overwatch League audience, but Paul hopes it will serve as a warning to content creators and freelancers interested in participating in the upcoming Overwatch League tournament.

This is the second time in a few months that Blizzard has attempted to provide free access to art and other work, the community has grown quite frustrated with the company and its handling of the Overwatch League in its entirety.