After Pokimane was banned from Twitch for 48-hours due to a DMCA violation after watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on stream, many streamers spent Friday night reacting to the ban. While one might expect streamers to consider caution when it comes to watching copyrighted materials, many of the major Twitch DMCA offenders shrugged off the ban as no big deal, or even accused people calling them out for pirating content of being snitches or corporate bootlickers.
So while Pokimane's ban could very well be the warning shot before a slew of new DMCA bans on major streamers like xQc, DisguisedToast, Hasan, and others, it seems clear that none of them consider their copyright violations to be much of a big deal at all.
Streamers react to Pokimane's DMCA ban
Multiple streamers made comments in defense of the TV watching meta on Twitch on Friday, even after one of their own, Pokimane, faced a two-day ban for her decision to engage with that meta.
xQc discussed the ban only a few minutes after it happened. xQc essentially passed the ban off as a normal means DMCA ban, claiming that it was automated not manual, and implying that the owners of copyrighted material don't really care if streamers consume it. He then proceeded to watch Master Chef on stream.
In response to a comment from a viewer saying that streamers violating DMCA "are not understanding what will happen on a big scale" Toast mocked the viewer, saying "oh no, billion-dollar company going to lost out on some money" while doing a fake crying motion. During that same stream, Toast said he originally started watching Naruto on stream to see how "far he could push the DMCA business" but said it turned into something he looks forward to.
Hasan, an old standby on the react meta, took aim specifically at Ludwig on Fridaynight, calling him a snitch, and calling anyone who disapproves of his piracy a "bootlicker."
"Making a video like this is worse [than pirating content on Twitch]," Hasan stated in response to Ludwig calling out the TV react meta. "Making a video like this only draws attention to it. This is just dry snitching bro, come on." He continued on to agree with xQc, that DMCA bans are not a big deal, saying he has been DMCA banned in the past.
"Bro, we are on the internet, are you f*cking stupid," Hasan said defensively in response to a comment against piracy, "Are you gonna go alert me to the authorities, the internet was literally built for piracy. . . you weirdo narc, what are you the cyber police, wee woo wee woo, f*cking bootlicker pieces of shit."
Twitch streamer Froste responded to the ban on Twitter, with advice for dodging bans, including turning off clips and mirroring the video in OBS to reduce risk of detection.
YouTuber SomeOrdinaryGamer swam against the current of support for DMCA violations, however, saying "If you get a channel strike watching licensed content on livestream and it gets taken down it really shouldn't be surprising at all. Like you can't watch whole TV shows and movies without any consequence."
Twitch agency owner Devin Nash also warned against streaming, arguing that bans and lawsuits would soon take place if streamers don't start taking DMCA seriously. He even warned that some offenders could potentially face jail time for willfully violating the law and profiting off of it.
"For a while, DMCA has gone in and out of the attention of people who follow stuff around Twitch," Nash said in a video published Friday evening. "DMCA has been kind of a scary problem. . . This is the actual streaming of full-blown movies and episodes for financial gain! ... There is no doubt that they are doing it, I cannot fathom that broadcasters are doing it."
Nash pointed out that streamers engaged in piracy on stream aren't just in danger of facing copyright strikes, they could also face direct lawsuits over their decisions.
Despite the laws and regulations surrounding copyrighting, it seems clear that those who are a part of the React meta don't see those dangers as real or important. That said, some streamers are actively steering clear of this meta, including Amouranth, who said earlier this week that watching TV on stream is "too risky."
Twitch Head of Community Productions djWHEAT also called the TV react practice as "not okay" and told streamers who are engaged in the practice to "f*ck around and find out" in late 2021. Additionally, Master Chef creator Gordon Ramsay also took shots at Twitch pirating this week in a Tweet promoting his newest show Next Level Chef, after recently discovering Twitch is a thing.
We will have to wait and see if the Pokimane ban was just a one-off fluke, or if more serious consequences could be coming to the streamers violating DMCA rules.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.