DOTA 2 developer Valve has issued a statement regarding DotaTV streaming following this week’s controversy surrounding the ESL One Genting 2018 tournament and the subsequent fallout. The controversy surrounds the ESL’s decision to send DMCA notices to popular streamers PPD, AdmiralBulldog, and BSJ who streamed the ESL One Genting games with their own commentary. The streamers were quickly issued DMCA takedowns by the ESL and were threatened with channel bans. All these streamers felt that they were within their rights laid out by Valve, but ESL felt that these streams competed with its own. ESL’s Senior Vice President of Product, Ulrich Schulze, attempted to clear the air with an AMA on Reddit, but ultimately just drew more anger from the DOTA community.
Valve’s new statement reopens the floodgates for community streamers to cover the event, and leaves ESL without many options to contest. Because Valve has now stated that they are the only entity with the power to send DMCA notices for games streamed on DotaTV, as long as the stream isn’t using the braodcaster’s unique content. Valve designed their guidleines to be flexible, and therefore it will be their decision alone to decide who has violated the rules.
Valve’s statement is below:
We’ve been seeing a bunch of discussion regarding DotaTV and want to expand on what we’ve said before.
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).
The second issue is regarding who is permitted to cast off of DotaTV. We designed the DotaTV guidelines to be flexible in order to allow for up and coming casters, or community figures like BSJ or Bulldog that occasionally watch tournament games on their channel, to be able to stream off of DotaTV. It is not to allow commercial organizations like BTS to compete with the primary stream. It’ll be our judgment alone on who violates this guideline and not any other third party’s.
One major factor in the ESL’s decision to hand out DMCA takedowns comes from their partnership with Facebook. On January 18, the ESL announced that Facebook had attained the rights to be the main broadcast platform for a wide variety of its events, including the upcoming Dota Minor in Genting, Malaysia. This news disappointed many DOTA community members who were hoping to watch the event on Twitch.
And because of that disappointment, several DOTA personalities announced plans to stream the event on their personal channels, citing guidelines set by Valve late last year. According to Valve’s rules, anyone can broadcast any DOTA game for their own audience using the in-game spectator tools. The only rule is that streamers cannot do so in a commercial way (no overlays/advertising), can’t use official broadcast content (such as casting audio or camerawork), and cannot do so in a way that competes with the original stream.