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Tiktok-logo-300x300With over one billion monthly active users, chances are that you have heard of the wildly popular TikTok platform that is now owned and run by the Chinese company ByteDance. Allowing its users to live-stream anything from their latest lip-syncing battles of their favorite pop artist’s songs to controversial video content of government protests or operations—TikTok has understandably caught the attention and ire of governments (and parents) throughout the world.

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The Mid Lane is a rundown of developments in the world of esports.

Growth, taxes and malls? An unconventional esports location is dominating the industry news this week. The latest news roundup indicates that all signs point to the continual progression of esports.

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In December, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) published a proposal to create a public list of approved virtual currencies and a self-certification methodology for holders of NY Bitlicenses and New York trust companies approved to engaged in a virtual currency business to offer to New York consumers virtual currencies without the need for additional approvals of the DFS. If adopted, the proposal would be a significant step at the state regulatory level toward treating digital assets in a manner commensurate with other more traditional financial assets.

In “New York Guidance on Listing Digital Assets,” colleagues Cassie Lentchner  and Daniel N. Budofsky examine this proposal more closely.

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The 2020 election season underway, so now is a good time to make certain your internal policies and procedures address applicable campaign contribution laws. In “Text, Alexa, Bitcoin—Technology Is Making It Easier to Make Political Contributions,” colleagues Cassie LentchnerEmily B. Erlingsson and Anita D. Stearns Mayo explore the complex federal, state and local campaign laws, including pay-to-play campaign law restrictions, exist and may regulate their personal contributions.

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League-of-Branding3-300x169Last month in Paris, G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix competed in front of thousands of fans for the title of world champion, with millions more tuning in to live streams from around the globe. These teams did not compete on a soccer pitch, a basketball court, or a baseball diamond. Instead, they met on stage at Paris’ AccorHotels Arena, a venue more commonly associated with concerts than competitive sporting events. This event was no “ordinary” world championship; the teams in question participated in one of esports’ preeminent events, the League of Legends World Championship. Despite the title’s humble beginnings, Riot Games’ multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) offering has grown to levels of popularity historically associated with marquee conventional sports, and the World Championship is League’s crowning achievement.

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Investments, acquisitions, more investments and more acquisitions make up the bulk of industry news this week, along with another sign of respect from sports-adjacent industries (hello Emmys!):

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Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of 3D computer graphics to special effects. CGI is used in films, television programs and, most recently, on social media. These images are not limited to modeling and practicing yoga … they even attend red carpet premiers.

Technological advances may make CGI influencers better for business than their human counterparts. There is no risk of human issues or error, such as profanity or criminal history. They allow for more control over an ad campaign in general and, in particular, the CGI’s narrative. This can help mediate the risk of unpredictability that comes with human influencers. Most importantly, CGIs can eliminate certain expenses, such as pricey flights.

CGIs can do everything human influencers can do, but better … or can they?

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Apple gets around to AR, the NHL enters esports, the Internet of Things may bring new meaning to “workers unite,” so many medical records, and more …

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The Interstate Income Act of 1959, a.k.a. Public Law 86-272, allows a business to enter a state (or send representatives to that state) to solicit orders for goods without being subject to a net income tax. As you might imagine, the advent of the internet created some interesting questions regarding application. The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) is updating its Public Law 86-272 guidance to address internet activities. Given this guidance was last updated in 2001, few would argue an update isn’t overdue, but those same people might find the potential scope of the new draft guidance surprising. In “Interactive” Website Will Defeat P.L. 86-272 Immunity If the MTC Has Its Way,” our colleague Mike Le examines how the MTC’s draft guidance in its current form would for all intents and purposes eviscerate P.L. 86-272 immunity.

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This latest news roundup is just another reminder that, as anchored in technology as esports may be, it ultimately involves many of the same issues faced by more established industries. Whether in regard to funding, corporate and franchising structures, employment contracts, real estate investment, cybersecurity concerns, or the challenge of embedding brand awareness deeper into the public consciousness, the business of esports is just that—business.

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