The start of the ESL One Genting event has been marred by streamers being prevented from broadcasting the event on Twitch. Organiser ESL has been issuing DMCA take down notices to those attempting to stream the DotaTV broadcasts; something that it is technically not allowed to do.
ESL had originally announced that it would be streaming ESL One Genting exclusively over Facebook, leaving the more traditional Twitch platform. This announcement was not terribly well received, seeing that most people who watch esports tend to have already got used to congregating on a specific site.
However, it wasn’t until the preliminary games got started that problems really began to crop up. Twitch streamers attempted to provide an alternative means of viewing the event by broadcasting the streams from the Valve owned DotaTV. These were later hit with bans after ESL issued DMCA notices; claiming that the organisation had the sole rights to control all streams and broadcasts happening from Genting.
This was compounded by numerous issues actually viewing the Facebook Watch streams. Not to mention that the service has not yet been launched in Malaysia, where the event is taking place.
Naturally, the Dota 2 community took the news very badly; and even a Reddit AMA from ESL Senior Vice President of Product Ulrich “theflyingdj” Schulze failed to reassure fans of the esport.
“We create and produce the content of the tournament, we do have legal agreements with Valve for those tournaments, and we had streams taken down which violated a policy laid out and publicly communicated. This happens at all of our other events as well,” said Schulze. A statement that didn’t go well with fans, who then complained directly to Valve.
In response, the developer of Dota 2 posted a notice on its blog. There, it explained that while tournament organisers are free police any content they add to the event, only Valve can issue DMCA notices against people who are simply streaming the Dota 2 content.
“The first issue we’ve been seeing discussed is regarding DMCA notices. This one is very simple: No one besides Valve is allowed to send DMCA notices for games streamed off of DotaTV that aren’t using the broadcasters’ unique content (camera movements, voice, etc)….
…… It’ll be our judgment alone on who violates this guideline and not any other third party’s.”
In other words, ESL’s notices were not valid as it is Valve that actually owns the content that is being streamed. According to Valve, Twitch should just ignore notices from ESL and continue on as usual. ESL has since announced that it will no longer be taking action against Twitch streams. Probably because it can’t actually accomplish anything there.