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Twitch clamps down on TV show streams

Pokimane first high-profile ban.

Twitch is hitting back at content creators for streaming TV shows on their channels.

The streaming platform isn't just used for gaming, and has recently seen a rise in TV show streams - something that isn't allowed due to DMCA copyright claims.

Now - just like it did with the use of copyrighted music - Twitch is clamping down on these streams.

Streaming and reacting to TV shows on Twitch isn't new. Twitch already has an in-built system for TV shows known as Watch Parties, although this is only available for streamers to watch Prime Video - understandable as Twitch is owned by Amazon. Instead, streamers are often streaming shows from elsewhere to their viewers, including copyrighted material.

Recently, TV streams hit a new level of virality with TV chef Gordon Ramsay and his new show Next Level Chef.

One contestant on the show was a Twitch streamer, causing Ramsay to respond "what the fuck is Twitch?". A clip soon went viral.

Ironically many streamers, including popular streamer xQc, regularly watch and react to his shows on their channels.

Ramsay responded to Twitch directly in a jokey exchange, with Twitch offering Ramsay a lesson in streaming.

This was all fun and games, but the streaming platform has made its first high profile ban for a TV stream, causing a swift turnaround.

Pokimane has recently been watching anime shows on her channel and on 8th January she streamed six hours of Avatar The Last Airbender to her 8.8 million followers, earning her a temporary 48 hour ban.

"Just to be clear, I'm not surprised and I don't think this is unfair," she tweeted afterwards. "imo, it was inevitable that publishers would take action, on me or someone else, during this react meta."

YouTube streamer Ludwig, who last year moved from Twitch, warned that watching TV shows was getting out of control.

"Recently there has been a swath of people on Twitch just outright watching TV shows," he said on stream. "The purpose of this video is not to expose these streamers in the hopes that a company takes them down. It's more so because I think things have gotten out of hand. And I think we might need a bit of a course correction before this all comes crashing down."

It's no surprise that streamers like Pokimane are now receiving bans for streaming TV shows, especially as they push the boundaries of allowed copyrighted content on the platform.

Really, it's surprising that Twitch has taken this long to address the issue following the high profile DMCA music strikes over the last couple of years. That's why many games now include a streamer mode to avoid licensed music, such as FIFA 21, Cyberpunk 2077 and more recently Guardians of the Galaxy

TV streams are just the latest content controversy to hit the platform as it wrestles to control its top streamers, following music strikes and last year's hot tub meta.

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About the Author
Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

Deputy News Editor

Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.