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Report: Blizzard and KeSPA StarCraft hostilities ending

by Alice O'Connor, May 09, 2011 7:10am PDT

The hostilities and legal battle between Blizzard and the Korean eSports Players Association over StarCraft broadcasting rights are seemingly drawing to a close. Fomos reports that Several members of the body, the self-declared representative of South Korean professional gaming, are soon to settle with the maker of the StarCraft series.

South Korean television networks and KeSPA members Ongamenet and MBC Game broadcast competitive StarCraft games without the licenses or fees demanded by Blizzard. The companies respectively had hosted the OSL and MSL, two astonishingly popular leagues for the original game, for years and felt Blizzard had no right to demand these fees. It also seemed a little cheeky that Blizzard waited until they, with other companies, had helped make StarCraft hugely successful in South Korea. Unsurprisingly, and justly, Blizzard was somewhat displeased by their refusal to play ball and called in the lawyers.

The trio were due in court on May 13 but this has now been postponed, as Fomos reports Ongamenet and MBC will be signing up for StarCraft licenses. This'll allow them to host tournaments, broadcast StarCraft series games, and get up to other things they've been doing for yonks anyway. Licensing fees of an undisclosed amount will be paid annually, and Blizzard's logo featured in their content.

In May 2010, Blizzard granted South Korean licensing rights exclusively to Gretech-GOMtv, meaning Ongamenet and MBC would have to sublicense from GOM. This was a bit of a slap to the face for KeSPA, as many of its members had shunned the online broadcaster and the league it hosted for the original StarCraft.

GOMtv went on to host an excellent StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty competition, the Global StarCraftII League (GSL). However, SC2 has yet to reach anywhere near the same level of popularity the original had in South Korea, due in part to the GSL being the only big league in town.

Hopefully the agreement will see the hosts of the OSL and MSL using a little of their muscle to give competitive StarCraft II a helping hand.





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