Quebec Continues To Fight To End Player Exclusion
Despite what you may feel about Canada, be it America’s shelter from bad politicians or you take your opinions from South Park‘s ‘Blame Canada’ song, they are moving forward with great strides for eSports competitors. Quebec will no longer consider eSports competitions to be publicity contests, as they will be reclassifying them to be skill-based competitions; this means the players from Quebec avoid some of the exclusion in international eSports competitions that they have been privy to.
Fédération Québécoise de Sports Électroniques (FQSE) was the one to make the announcement, which is an organization that has been working tirelessly for the legal reclassification of eSports in the Canadian province, as well as striving to develop and raise visibility of their eSports scene.
Dawei Ding, the vice-president of FQSE, has said that, with the previous classification, the laws were also easier for eSports tournament organizers to avoid them than to learn them.
“Many organizers of esports tournaments such as Blizzard and MLG weren’t sure if their event qualified as a ‘publicity contest’ because the term is loosely defined. Since they didn’t want to take any chances (the penalty can be as high as $70,000), they simply decided to exclude Quebec residents from their tournaments so the Quebec law wouldn’t be applicable to them.”
To get the whole thing in motion, however, Ding has to convince the RACJ that eSports are a skill-based competition akin to any other sport. Unfortunately, the biggest barrier, he said, is just explaining what eSports actually are, and it’s not much different than trying to explain to your family what they are. He said, most of the people he had to talk to had no clue what he was even talking about However, this isn’t anything new for anyone trying to explain eSports to anyone.
“This is true especially for older generations which include the people who work at the RACJ. It took a lot of effort just to make sure that we were talking about the same thing. To get people to understand the dynamic behind eSports, I had to use diagrams, videos, pictures and even live streams!”
Quebec’s current publicity contest classification for eSports means that competitive gaming is viewed as “a contest, a lottery scheme, a game, a plan or an operation which results in the awarding of a prize, carried on for the object of promoting the commercial interests of the person for whom it is carried on.” Due to the startlingly strict laws Quebec holds for contests, including residents of Quebec winds up being too much of a headache any sort of sweepstakes or contest organizer, so residents are almost always prohibited from participating in contests and eSports tournaments held outside of the region.
One of the most recent examples of players being a victim of the previous standard was Jérome “KilluZiioN” Tanguay. The Heroes of the Storm player was attempting to participate in the 2015 Road to BlizzCon. KilluZiioN couldn’t even fight for the right to participate because the Blizzcon rules specifically prohibited it, and he is just one of several Quebec residents being excluded from tournaments.
The situation is now in the shaky hands of the tournament organizers, who will most likely have their legal teams review the case.
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