Update, October 14th: Valve are not a company known to move quickly or to take decisive action with any sense of urgency, but it would seem that unrest in the Dota 2 streaming scene is the catalyst required to make magic happen.
In an official statement, Valve have laid out an easy-to-understand set of rules governing third-party broadcasting of Dota 2 tournament matches. It seems reasonable enough, and should please most parties.
For a deeper dive into competitive Dota, check out the best players on the scene.
In summary, fans are allowed to stream any DotaTV match to any audience even if there are official broadcasts running in parallel. In the case of commercial tournaments such as Starladder’s I-League Invitational, third parties are asked to keep it low-key and non-commercial, so no branding or advertising beyond what Twitch add automatically, and no re-use of official tournament caster material.
That’s how it should work for fans, so they should be safe from DMCA takedowns in future. For rival broadcast networks wanting to broadcast another’s event, while nothingexplicitis stated, the text does seem convey a simple message: Don’t.
Original Story, October 13th:Things are getting weird for Dota 2 on Twitch, as one tournament has begun issuing DMCA claims against independent streamers and casters for broadcasting the event.
Starladder’s i-League Invitational is currently in progress, pitting many of the world’s best Dota 2 teams against each other in a massive tournament with an equally massive prize pool. The official, Starladder-produced streams in English and Russian are currently the top two channels on Twitch. If you follow esports, you’re probably already watching.
While those official streams are the most popular way to view the tournament, it’s common practice for other streamers both amateur and professional to cast events like this themselves via the in-game DotaTV client. In some cases, that’s the only way to get streams of the game with commentary in many languages.
But Starladder have been issuing DMCA claims against such streamers, and today the Dota 2 subreddit is filled with reports of various casters having their streams taken down mostly without prior warning. Notably that includes channels like FroggedTV which serve as a rare source of French Dota casting.
Valve’s policy toward video content for their games is pretty open, but it doesn’t address what happens when you start streaming tournaments by separate organizations running their own official channels. Whether Starladder are within their rights to ban others from casting the tournament is not yet clear, as Valve have not yet issued a statement and situation as whole is without apparent precedent.