StarLadder issues statement on Major broadcasting rights
StarLadder has released a statement addressing the controversy over the broadcasting rights for the ongoing Major.
The second day of the Major ended on a sour note after several streamers had their Twitch channels taken down as a result of copyright strikes issued by StarLadder.
Erik "fl0m" Flom, Andre "nooky" Utesch and Jean-Michel "mch" D'Oliveira are among the streamers who were suspended without prior warning after broadcasting footage off of GOTV on their channels.
In a statement issued this morning, StarLadder explained that the Major has official broadcasts in ten different languages ("Chinese, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish") and that the company is "required to comply" with the media contracts signed with the partners.
"The tournament license for the CS:GO Major grants StarLadder rights to broadcast video content of the tournament," the Kiev-based company said. "We use those rights to find the sponsorships and media contracts that make the event possible.
"We welcome community broadcasts in languages which are not in the list of official broadcasting languages.
"For the English-language community broadcasts we will be happy to work with community streamers if they would share sponsorship obligations with us. For more information, please contact us: email@example.com."
The controversy has reignited the discussion about the ownership of the broadcastings rights from Valve's in-game clients. Last year, Valve was forced to act after ESL had issued DMCA requests to community streamers who were broadcasting the ESL One Genting Dota2 tournament - which had Facebook as its exclusive streaming partner - on their Twitch channels.
Valve stressed that no one besides it is allowed to send DMCA notices for games streamed off of DotaTV and brought up the DotaTV guidelines that it had created some months earlier, stating that "anyone should be able to broadcast a match from DotaTV for their audience" as long as they did not do so "in a commercial manner or in a way that directly competes with the tournament organizer’s stream" (no advertising/branding overlays, and no sponsorships).
But according to the StarLadder Major's official rulebook, the event organiser owns "all broadcasting rights" for the competition, which includes "video streams (e.g. PoV streams), radio streams, GOTV, replays, demos or TV broadcasts". The same wording also appeared in the rulebook for the IEM Katowice Major, but ESL did not enforce it and let community streamers broadcast the games.
Meanwhile, a StarLadder official has told HLTV.org that all DMCA claims made by the company "have been withdrawn".