Since September 2018, the plaintiff, Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co., Ltd. ("Tencent"), has filed for more than ten lawsuits in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing and other places against live broadcasts and short video infringements of their games such as "Honor of Kings" and "League of Legends". In the lawsuit, the defendants involved include operators of live streaming and video platforms such as Huoshan Video, Douyin and Watermelon Video.
Tencent argued that the development and operation of “Honor of Kings" required extensive resources, and "Honor of Kings" has been well received by the market since its release. The live streaming of games on platforms such as Huoshan Video violated the copyright of "Honor of Kings" and seized the live game streaming market share held by the plaintiff.
Huoshan Video argued that the visual elements of the game "Honor of Kings" do not constitute as works protected by copyright law due to insufficient originality. Even if they do constitute as works, the copyright should belong to players who create original creations so the live broadcast of the game would constitute as a reasonable use of the game.
After the hearing, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court held that the copyright of "Honor of Kings" is enjoyed by the game developer and that the live streaming does not constitute as a reasonable use of the copyright. In addition, although the live streaming adds narration and ‘danmu’ to interact with the audience through the screen, "the added content is relatively simple and contains no originality." Even if the second creation constitutes as a new work, its use must not infringe on the copyright of the original work.
The court ordered Huoshan Video to immediately stop the live streaming of "Honor of Kings" and to compensate Tencent for RMB 8 million.