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So, you are considering upping your game in esports and joining a team. Short of having your own lawyer, what are some of the top five things for you to consider from a legal perspective? In this first of a two part series for Asia Law Network, video games and entertainment lawyer Adrian Kwong shares his views of some things a player might want to note before signing a contract.
I’ll be direct. Your first priority is to read your contract before you sign anything. Make sure you understand what it says, including what you are agreeing to do (and just as important, not do), for how long, and what you get in return.
Do not sign anything that you don’t properly understand (for example, a contract in a language you aren’t confident in), that you feel that you are being rushed into signing (“if you don’t sign it now you will lose the deal”) or where you feel that you will not be able to live up to the terms or where they seem excessive (“if you leave, you will not be allowed to play in any other team for 5 years and must pay a buyout fee of $500,000”).
Once you put your mark on the dotted line, the contract would usually become legally binding, and walking away could result in you being accused of breaching the contract and liable to being taken to court, with all the cost and trouble that could bring.
So what are some key contract areas to look out for?
Following on from our April post on participating in the "Legal Issues in Legal Tech" panel at TechLaw.Fest 2018, I am very excited to share our little contribution to legal innovation and legal practice as part of the journey with the Future Law Innovation Programme, Singapore #FLIPbySAL. As far as we are aware, Consigclear LLC is the first ever Singapore law firm given a formal regulatory approval to operate out of a co-working space. Not a distinct office, or even a dedicated desk, but from any part of the space, the same way more and more clients are working out of these co-working spaces themselves. That's pretty new ground, we think!
The law firm is still bound by professional obligations, especially around preserving confidentiality., but this sort of approval does give many more legal practitioners another option in structuring the way they organise their business and more efficiently deliver client services moving forward. I am appreciative of the support received from Singapore Academy of Law, FLIP, and others, as well as Penny Wu from Lexlink, and that the regulators were open to considering #innovation and something different.
Do ping me if you would like to discuss how this was done, or if you have ideas or feedback on making this work better for others.
You can also read (or watch) more about this effort and my time as a pioneer in FLIP here :
A great few days 5-6 April 2018 at the inaugural TechLaw.Fest #TLF18 organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, ending with speaking on the panel "Legal Issues in Legal Tech". Joined by the dynamic fellow panelists from a law firm's tech arm, an MNC, two legal tech startups, and the excellent and organised moderator (from the Government), it was a ride that went into a wide-ranging discussion of Section 33 of the Legal Profession Act and what it means to be regulated as a lawyer, the distinction between legal advice and business advice, liability for legal information services and templates, lawyers' MS Word and typewriters, and finally how lawyers can adapt to change while bearing in mind their professional obligations, including the possibilities of practicing law differently.
Till next time!
On the speaker panel for the first IMDA PIXEL-Asia Law Network dinner networking session in 2018 for legal issues across the digital creator and innovator communities. Together with Mohan as moderator and Jeremiah, a fellow IP lawyer, we talked about intellectual property across various fields, including monetizing and protecting one's creations and innovations.
Honoured to be part of the "panel of experts" (as The Straits Times called it) for the media launch in January of the Singapore Academy of Law's new Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). Looking forward to being one of the pioneer participants in seeing if we can do anything about the "robot lawyers taking our lunch", as someone put it at the event.
"Today, in Singapore, a new two-year pilot programme that aims to build a tech-driven law industry, otherwise know as legaltech, has been officially launched, half a year after it was unveiled.
Called the Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP), this initiative is run by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), a key legal industry development agency in the country. It will bring together legal professionals, tech entrepreneurs, government bodies and investors to incubate new legal service models as well as accelerate the widespread adoption of legaltech.
It will also look into helping lawyers navigate new — and grey — legal areas concerning new technologies, such as house-sharing and drones, for example. Also, if regulations impede new innovations, participants at FLIP will have the opportunity to tackle them together."
From https://e27.co/lawyers-singapore-get-help-tech-disruption-new-programme-20180110/ and https://www.flip.org.sg/single-post/2018/01/16/Lawyers-in-Singapore-to-get-help-with-tech-disruption-with-innovation-programme
Find out more about the programme at the FLIP website at www.flip.org.sg/.
Super excited to have been selected as the very first Expert-In-Residence at the Infocomm Media Development Authority's PIXEL initiative at one-north. As the pioneer lawyer invited into the PIXEL building filled with game developers, online content creators, VR/AR labs, and other innovators and media players, it's an objective to not just be the local 'legal guy', but to also go beyond that to mentor, educate and collaborate within the community, and help do more to grow the local Singapore media industry.
p.s. I love that the building itself is pretty cool, with varied spaces for events, prototyping, and content creation (including sets that look like a kopitiam, a train carriage and ... a bar). Check out this article about the place.
Do ping me if you expect to be around there, or in Block71 or Fusionopolis.
Was quoted on the law in Singapore in The Sunday Times' feature yesterday on loot boxes : "Loot boxes in video games: Cool rewards or gambling trap?, 10 December 2017" :
'Loot box mechanisms, while having elements of chance and items of value, usually do not allow users to cash out. So, they are most likely exempt from the Act, said lawyer Adrian Kwong, managing director of Consigclear, which has a strong focus in video gaming and entertainment law.
Still, "it is also worth noting that the Act is expressly intended to prevent the games engendering crime and social order issues in Singapore, as well as help protect the young and vulnerable", said Mr Kwong.
"If complaints are received that the young are being exploited, for example by overspending on loot boxes or becoming addicted... the authorities may consider a particular game as objectionable."'
If you were interested in understanding more about the Remote Gambling Act, applied to loot boxes, lucky boxes, and the like in video games, do read on.
Need some images for that presentation you're working on? Some tips here: learn.asialawnetwork.com/2017/11/16/guide-to-legally-using-images-from-internet/. I've excerpted the FAQs below. Comments and questions welcome.
p.s This was my debut contribution to Asia Law Network, as the firm adds a presence there as well: https://asialawnetwork.com/lawyers/adriankwongconsigclear
Very pleased to attend IMDA's 1 year anniversary event, and to hear Minister Yaacob Ibrahim's speech on the prospects for the infocomm and media (ICM) sector of the Singapore economy, including around artificial intelligence, training the workforce better, and increasing levels of digitalization (note the SG Digital logo). His speech can be read here. Realised that the Minister had a shirt on that was the same colour as we like on this website (the colour happens to be part of the IMDA corporate logo)!
Also attended Unity's Unite Singapore 2017 event at the Art Science Museum, and caught up with some of the gaming folks in an unusual venue. Thanks for the invite, guys.
Lastly, I got to let my hair down a little at the IMDA Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, getting to know fellow Film Consultation Panel members and associated IMDA staff in a more relaxed setting.
October 2017 : Was pleased to speak this month on legal issues for game companies at the inaugural SEA Summit, which is a regional conference focussed on the business of games and e-sports in SE Asia, touted at the fastest-growing area for games. More details at theseasummit.com. The Summit was hosted at PIXEL, which is a great incubator and resource run by IMDA in Singapore's one-north area for various creative industries. I hope to be back there soon... more details to come. With thanks to Chris for the picture shared via the conference app.