Paul Sams had a special interview session to have more in-depth information on Blizzard's stance in the whole SC 1 IP rights fiasco.
"Blizzard still has strong attachment for StarCraft 1. Due to the limitation of time and resources, right now, we have to choose and focus. But support for StarCraft 1 will not be reduced now, or later."
Blizzard, who decided to take the problem of StarCraft IP rights to the courts, has once again, shown a strong will in regards to IP rights protection, and explained their thoughts on StarCraft 1.
Blizzard provided an interview as a follow-up to yesterday's announcement of filing an lawsuit.
This is an interview transcription with Paul Sams:
- There are fans who do not like taking the matter to the court or worry about it.
A. I want to say clearly, that we do not want to negatively affect the players, nor do we intend to. The reason why we had to use the final card of lawsuits is because our IP rights are not being protected. We still want to see StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 leagues to happen, and to be shown on the TV.
After the lawsuit news, we've monitored the opinions of the Korean players late into the night, and we've sighted worries that Blizzard wants to completely bury StarCraft 1. We want to say it loud and clear, that we do not wish to do so. Blizzard still has a strong attachment for StarCraft 1.
Not only the company, but I personally have a special spot in my heart for StarCraft 1. We just want to protect our IP rights.
The negotiation terms that Gretech offered to both of the broadcasting stations are fair, so we want to see the negotiation through as smooth as possible, and be on a good relations. Also, Blizzard has no plan to get any monetary gains through the IP rights negotiation process. Didn't you see in Gretech's announcement, that all monetary gains will be donated to charities? Once again, we want to see StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2 to exist side-by-side.
- There are opinions that since individual leagues happen 3 times in 1 year, 100 million won per tournament might be too expensive. Are there any plans to adjust this to just 100 million won per 1 year just like it is for Proleague?
A. As far as I know, the negotiation terms revealed by Gretech is for the Proleague, not individual leagues that the broadcasting stations are doing. The negotiation terms relating to that is not yet revealed. So, please excuse us for being unable to make a comment on this question. What I can say is, KeSPA, as we all know, is a non-profit group -- to support progamers and to provide rules and lead e-sports, not a monopolistic for-profit group. But broadcasting stations are a for-profit companies.
Few years ago, there was a situation when KeSPA demanded broadcasting fee from broadcasting stations, and I remember the fee to be significantly higher than the rumors or current negotiation terms offered. The important fact here is, that KeSPA has no right to demand any money, but they did so, at much higher price. The absolutely true fact is that, few years ago, KeSPA demanded a lot of money, and we think if someone wants to use somebody else's IP, they should be paying a fair price to the IP owner.
As for the sub-licensing, we gave Gretech full rights, so we are not involved with that negotiation. Gretech is a for-profit company, so it seems only right that the negotiation should end with fair pricing for both Gretech and the broadcasting stations.
Once again, Blizzard did not decide on the pricing in the negotiation, and that Gretech will set a fair price for the negotiation. Ultimately, we want to protect our IP rights.
I want to also make a mention about the rumors going around regarding the relationship between Gretech and Blizzard. Gretech is Blizzard's partner. This is based on trust, and Blizzard still trusts and supports Gretech. So, we want to confirm again, clearly, that Blizzard and Gretech are partners who trust and respect each other. Likewise, we want to see new partnerships created with other groups in Korea. To do so, we need to have respect going both ways, but beforehand, we need acknowledgment of the IP rights. Doing broadcasting without getting the license is an act of disrespect.
- At worst, StarCraft 1 progame teams might be disbanded. In that case, have Blizzard ever thought of what to do for the progamers if that happens?
A. We tried to think up many ways to get the negotiations finished all these years. Unfortunately, the negotiation could not proceed and it didn't come to an agreement. We have been stressing the importance of protecting the progamers, and to not give any harm or negative effect to them. We really want to see a solution, in other words, to see negotiation come to an agreement. Blizzard wants broadcasting stations to get a license to continue airing games, and for progamers to continue playing in the matches.
In the middle that is that IP rights must be protected. But other involved parties are giving excuses not related to IP rights to stall the negotiation. Past should let be past, and everyone should be able to enjoy both StarCraft 1 and StarCraft 2.
When the worst comes to pass, we want to question the broadcasting stations instead. Have they thought of what might happen to the progamers if they leave this problem as it is? This is a problem that depends on broadcasting stations' choice.
We will continue to support StarCraft 1 no matter what, and will continue to open new tournaments. The chance for that will continue to be provided. We don't want to see progamer teams or big progamer-based groups to be disbanded due to this.
- StarCraft 1 tournaments? What is this about?
A. We are working with many different partner companies worldwide. Through the partners, we will continue to open tournaments and will support them. Our business is varied -- WoW, WarCraft 3, StarCraft and such. Due to the limitation of time and resources, right now, we have to choose and focus. But support for StarCraft 1 will not be reduced now or later.
- Broadcasting stations sent a new negotiation terms including their stance, and Blizzard did not respond to it?
A. Blizzard cannot respond to it because we are not the negotiator. Gretech is the one that should be responding to it. As we said yesterday, we are willing to take part in additional dialogues, and even though we are offering fair terms, every time we start a new negotiation session, [KeSPA/broadcasting stations] keeps on adding additional terms of what they want, causing the negotiation to be delayed. This is happening over and over, and it is making the negotiation very difficult. Gretech will be announcing their stance in regards to that, and we are looking forward to it.
We want to say again, that what we really want is for broadcasting stations to continue broadcasting the games after getting the StarCraft 1 license. In additional, when this is resolved, there will probably be more ways where we can work together with. But first of all, we must resolve the broadcasting rights issue that started years ago, before we continue talking about other things. It is important to get trust by resolving the age-old problem. It is too hasty to expect a partnership when there is no trust built yet.
A random SC 2 question about future of SC 2 tournaments you may or may not be interested in:
+ Show Spoiler +
- Is there plans to make additional StarCraft 2 tournaments open worldwide just like Korea's GSL?
A. Blizzard has a lot of interest in that. We are currently working with partners about that. We will open up StarCraft 2 tournaments in various places, and we are preparing licensing for the worldwide tournaments to open. We want that day to come fast.
We think famous, skilled players such as Lim Yo-Hwan, Kim Won Ki, and Lee Yun Yeol joining tournaments caused StarCraft 2 to be more prestigious, and more skilled, popular players will probably show more interest. We will take that as a good chance to increase the interest in StarCraft 2, and continue to work on it.