The best League of Legends team in the world has just issued a statement regarding a slew of takedown notices on a number of YouTube videos featuring their players, which is mostly footage that they don’t actually own.

The controversy appears to have started just last week. A user by the name of Mqtaun_1998 posted a thread to the NewTubers subreddit bemoaning the removal of three of his highlight videos being removed by SK Telecom T1, two of which that did not even feature SKT players and only featured the team’s logo in the thumbnail (which can be argued to be misleading clickbait, a practice that violates YouTube’s guidelines, but that is an argument for another day).

It wasn’t until a similar thread was posted to the League of Legends subreddit by Catfish_BILLY that the issue turned into something of a scandal. He posted a number of screenshots from takedowns and an email that was allegedly from an employee of SK Telecom T1 that claimed they were the sole copyright holders of any footage and image of their players, and that the content creator being contacted was violating copyright laws.

By then, a storm began to brew as the tournament favorites began to draw the ire of not just nameless fans, but well-known and respected League of Legends personalities like former LCK casters Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles and Erik “DoA” Lonnquist

It’s similar to the SpectateFaker debacle from 2015, when Azubu made an attempt to have a channel that streamed Faker’s games to Twitch removed. It was only put to rest when Riot Games intervened to say that Azubu has no claim on the copyrights to League of Legends players’ gameplay because that claim was held by Riot themselves.

While Riot has yet to publicly speak out on the matter, it appears that SK Telecom T1 has taken the previous controversy to heart and went to Riot directly to figure things out. Today, they finally released a statement that was posted to their social media explaining the situation from their side of the matter.

“We would like to talk about the recent YouTube VOD takedown incident.

We, SKT, have been finding ways to enhance the welfare of our players. Through many years of practice, we felt confident that we can generate additional revenue for our players through personal streaming and VOD management.”

SK Telecom T1’s League of Legends team recently made the switch from Abuzu to Twitch for their livestreaming, as Azubu no longer holds an exclusive contract with LCK players, with poster boy Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s first stream smashing through viewership records at 245,000 concurrent viewers.

“Furthermore, we are also preparing our own ‘SKT T1 YouTube Channel’ which will be filled with SKT related various contents.

While operating such streaming and VOD business, we faced some critical issues. Fans were left confused between [the] official SKT stream channel and third-party streamers, causing the split in viewership and ultimately damaging our player income. Also, content creators were creating VODs with inappropriate advertisements on SKT soloQ plays, leveraging SKT player contents to earn profits.”

The team went on to admit that they did not fully understand how to go about having the content remove, as they were unaware that they were not the copyright holders for much of the content they were issuing copyright strikes for. Much of the videos receiving the takedown notices were using footage from the LCK, Worlds, and MSI, which is owned by Riot Games and not SK Telecom T1.

However, that won’t be stopping the team from pursuing takedowns. Rather than going about issuing the takedowns directly, as they were before, SK Telecom T1 plans to reach out to Riot Games to have SKT-related content removed from sites such as YouTube. Riot will allegedly be implementing guidelines for what will and will not be deemed appropriate for usage, likely in the same manner of Fair Use laws.

“After such guideline is set, we will make sure to revive those VODs that do not fall in the criteria of the new guideline.

We would like to thank you for your continued support for SKT and we hope that you will enjoy our official SKT Youtube Channel.”

It most certainly was not the most satisfying response, as it felt as if SK Telecom T1 left out too many details regarding what kind of process the organization plans to go through when it comes to releasing the claims they are trying to issue to videos with footage they do not own, and if they plan to go after videos with footage of their players on another team, but it’s better than the silence that the team has had up until now.

About The Author

Sian R
eSports Director | Streamer

Sian is a self-proclaimed Star Wars historian, Fatal Frame enthusiast and crazy cat lady that's fascinated by the Kpop mashups on YouTube. Professional gaming is something that's fascinated him ever since he was a wee lad, especially when it came to fighting games, so now he rambles on about it in the form of articles that use way too many commas.