Riot Games Accused of Claiming Artist’s Original Work as Their Own

The fist logo for riot games
Gaming company Riot Games is no stranger to being in the news. The website Kotaku did an investigative piece about sexism within the company, resulting in lawsuits and regime changes. On January 28, 2022, Ukrainian artist Kuttysark_art took to their social media to share an upsetting accusation.

Their Instagram post elaborates: “…I don’t want to be silent when someone claims that my original work belong to them, even if it’s someone as big as Riot Games. The only thing I can do is to speak. Please help me by spreading this post 🙏”

It appears that Kutty Sark Art had an original character design available on Teepublic. Allegedly, Riot Games had the design flagged claiming the design was theirs, thus insinuating that Kutty was in violation of copyright laws. The design was removed from the website. 

A slide from Kutty Sark’s Instagram post, which shows the email they state they received from TeePublic.

Kutty Sark has a webcomic called “Arcane Flames” and Riot Games has an animated series titled “Arcane” which is based on the League of Legends computer game.  It may be that Riot Games is flagging anything with the word “arcane” in it. Alternatively, artists have experienced their works being removed preemptively by Teepublic if they’re deemed similar to other works that have been claimed, even without the influence of a DMCA order. 

Kutty Sark went on to state that they tried to dispute the takedown, only to be told Teepublic is unable to reinstate this design because it was a DMCA claim from Riot Games.

Fans of the artist shared support and their opinions on the matter.

That’s ridiculous. It seems like they might be going after anything that has “Arcane” in the title without vetting to see if it’s related to their IP, which they absolutely cannot do because they don’t own the word.

Omg that horrible and frustrating!🔥😡🔥 I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Alas, big companies just glance over hashtags/wording, and not really look at the complete product and just DMCA whatever the hell they want. Hope this issue solves quickly!

@riotgames someone from your company needs to understand how intellectual property work

Hire a smart lawyer, sue them for copyright and emotional damage worth over a million. Emotional damage is unquantifiable and could really make your worthwhile (And Jury always takes the side of individuals over big companies in such matters.)

I was notified by RedBubble today that RiotGames took down my drawing of Jinx, I was sad, but well… What can I do. Now I see this and I am PISSED, I am so sorry this is happening and I really hope things will be resolved for you!!!

As of now, Riot Games has made no official statement addressing Kutty Sark’s claim.  We will keep you updated on developments in this story.

About Yali Perez

When she's not writing about pop culture for Fandom Spotlite, curating social media for the*gameHERS, or helping to produce the DB4L podcast, she is a single mom to the coolest kid in the world. In Yali's free time she likes to bake, exercise, watch horror films, and play Mario Kart. Yali's goal as a writer is to share her nontraditional and colorful view of the world with readers everywhere.

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