May 29, 2024

Brazil Passes ‘Legal Framework for Games’ Legislation


In early May, Brazil’s Law No. 14,852/2024 (the “Legal Framework for Games” or the “Framework”) was published. Originating as Bill No. 2796/2021, the legislation provides the necessary legal framework for the burgeoning Brazilian gaming market, and offers incentives to national companies in the gaming industry.

‘Electronic Games’ and Electronic Game Development Companies

The Framework encompasses various aspects of electronic games, including their intangible and technical dimensions. "Electronic Games" refers to (i) interactive audiovisual works created as computer programs; (ii) the software they operate on; and (iii) the necessary and complementary hardware required for their execution. The text of the law acknowledges the increasing popularity of streaming games, explicitly including this form of play in its definition of electronic games.

Gambling and fantasy sports, on the other hand, are explicitly excluded from this definition, preventing companies and professionals involved in betting activities from benefiting from the Framework.

Companies aiming to develop video games are classified as game developers. Furthermore, the Framework recognizes a variety of professions within this field. These professionals may register as individual micro-entrepreneurs (MEI), micro-enterprises, and small businesses.

These professionals are not required to possess specific qualifications or state licenses to practice their professions.

Electronic game development companies with gross revenues of up to R$16 million in the previous calendar year, or average monthly revenues of R$1,333,334, will qualify for a special promotional incentive for electronic games.

Various Uses of Electronic Games

The Framework, contingent upon age classification, grants permission for the utilization of electronic games in any lawful endeavor. This includes a non-exhaustive list of applications beyond the conventional association of games with entertainment and communication, such as:

  • Educational use within schools
  • Therapeutic applications
  • Professional training and skills development

These applications will be regulated by the executive branch, and may be taken into consideration in public policies aimed to promote their use.

Incentives for the Advancement of Domestic Gaming Development and a Skilled Workforce

Investments in electronic games development are now acknowledged to contribute to research, development, innovation, and culture. The Culture Incentive Law (Law No. 8.313/91, the "Rouanet Law") has been broadened to stimulate the production of independent Brazilian electronic games, with the objective of bolstering the local gaming industry. Furthermore, game development companies can now benefit from the Audiovisual Promotion Law (Law No. 8.685/93), providing additional incentive to the sector.

Moreover, the key tools required for game development should benefit from additional fiscal regulations, designed to simplify their importation and foster innovation.

In addition to ensuring sufficient funding for these activities, the government is legally obligated to support the cultivation of a skilled workforce for the electronic games industry. This includes the establishment and promotion of professional training, as well as encouraging the research and development of educational games.

Electronic Games and Copyright

From an intellectual property standpoint, the originating bill had sparked considerable anticipation. It proposed that music and other artistic creations incorporated into games would be protected under copyright law. The bill also stated that the registration of electronic games would adhere to provisions of the Software Law (Law No. 9,069/98).

However, the final version of the Law, as sanctioned, merely amended Article 2 of Law No. 9,279/96 (Industrial Property Law). This amendment provides for the registration of electronic games as a form of industrial property protection.

Protection of Children and Adolescents

Additionally, the Framework includes provisions regarding the consumption of virtual games by children and adolescents, establishing mechanisms to ensure the protection of their rights, such as:

  • Adequate and proportional resources to mitigate the risk of violation of the rights of children and adolescents, and to promote their digital environment rights;
  • Creation of dialogue channels aimed at serving children and adolescents;
  • Restrictions on text, audio, video, or content exchange systems in accordance with the minimum legal requirements, with full transparency regarding the safeguards that have been adopted;
  • Requiring a supplier to maintain the environment of its official services, systems and communities, and to ensure equal access under the terms of the Statute of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Restriction of in-game purchase mechanisms for children, in order to ensure parental consent; and
  • Compliance with Children and Adolescents Statute (“ECA”) restrictions on children's advertising.

Read the full text of the law in Portuguese.

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