Esports dispute highlights finances of professional gaming

While many people in Georgia are fans of the videos and competitions hosted by esports stars and teams, the reality of professional video gaming can be more complex. Like other forms of entertainment, esports is a major industry that relies on restrictive yet lucrative contracts. One of the stars of the esports world, 22-year-old "Fortnite" player Tfue, is engaged in an ongoing dispute with his former esports group, FaZe Clan, over Tfue leaving the group and bringing his contract to an end. Both sides are asking a federal judge to rule in their favor in key aspects of the ongoing dispute.

Tfue filed suit first against FaZe Clan, seeking an escape from his gamer agreement. In particular, he cited California law, noting that the agreement that allows FaZe to take up to 80% of his earnings violates the state's rules about talent agencies. Because California is such a center for entertainment, the state has a range of protective laws designed to shield entertainers from exploitation by labels and managers. However, FaZe says that the contract was concluded in New York under that state's laws and must be dealt with there.

Tfue's California lawsuit was postponed to await the outcome of the New York contract dispute. In that case, FaZe argues that Tfue breached his contract with them by refusing to share his income from "Fortnite" purchases made inside the game. Tfue argues that his contract ended on Oct. 27, 2018, and that he cannot be found in breach for actions after that time. He says that FaZe was required to take certain actions to extend his contract but failed to do so.

Creative industries can be lucrative, but the contractual issues involved can be complex and important. A business law attorney may work with businesses and entertainers to develop contracts and resolve disputes before litigation.

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