Is Riot Games filing DMCA claims for using the word Arcane?

By Nicholas James


Jan 29, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Riot Games seems to have filed a DMCA claim against an independent artist due solely due to their use of the word Arcane.

A shirt design by artist Kutty Sark was taken down from online clothing store Teepublic following an intellectual property claim by Riot Games. There’s just one problem: The featured art has nothing to do with League of Legends or its animated adaptation. So why would Riot be able to take it down?

Riot DMCA claim proves baseless

Kutty Sark took to Twitter to ask for help getting Riot Games’ attention after a design depicting a young woman surrounded by swimming fish skeletons was taken down from her Teespring page. At first glance, there are some loose similarities between the art and the animated series Arcane.

In the design, blue fish skeletons pass by a tattoed young woman, with the name “Arcane Flames” written on the back. While Jinx may be tattoed and have a sentimental association with the skeletons of dead fish through her mentor Silco, this clearly isn’t her on the shirt. In fact, it’s a design taken from Kutty Sark’s webcomic, Arcane Flames.

Sark’s plea quickly brought a lot of attention from fans and community figures who rallied behind trying to get her design back up and available. The copyright claim struck fans as a flagrant overreach by the League of Legends developer.

Riot responds to DMCA claim backlash

Riot was quick to respond to the situation, issuing a statement about the DMCA claim later the same day. Riot says that it has many teams and even third-party agencies who help to protect the company’s intellectual properties. This scope of operation can lead to mistakes such as this one, but Riot promises it is actively reviewing how the instance happened.

By the time Riot Games released a statement, the situation had already gone viral on Twitter as well as reaching the top post in the League of Legends subreddit. Clearly, fans are not happy about this instance of Riot Games attacking an independent artist for using the word “arcane,” even if the company did admit its error.


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