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Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service

A post on Reddit by justalazygamer notes that Twitch's recently announced plan to offer a subscriber-exclusive stream option would violate the Terms of Service for many game companies (thanks PCGamesN). Word is Blizzard, Valve, Riot, and CD Projekt RED all have language in their Terms of Service that disallow premium streaming that has no free alternative available:

Blizzard

Limitation of Usage

Neither you nor the operator of any website where your Production(s) may be viewed can force a viewer to pay a "fee" to be able to view your Production(s).

Regarding Websites and "Premium Access"

We understand that many third party websites have a "free" method to see their video content, as well as a 'premium' membership service that allows for speedier viewing.

For clarity, please note that as long as the website that hosts your Production provides a free method to allow viewers to see the Production, Blizzard Entertainment will not object to your Production being hosted on that site, regardless of the site's "for pay" premium service plans.

Valve

Use of our content in videos must be non-commercial. By that we mean you can't charge users to view or access your videos. You also can't sell or license your videos to others for a payment of any kind.

You are free to monetize your videos via the YouTube partner program and similar programs on other video sharing sites. Please don't ask us to write YouTube and tell them its fine with us to post a particular video using Valve content. It's not possible to respond to each such request. Point them to this page.

Riot

Exception 2: Gameplay Streaming

We permit individual players to solicit personal donations or offer subscription-based content while live-streaming games, so long as non-subscribers can still watch the games concurrently.

CD PROJEKT RED

This one is contained in an image you can find at the link.

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23 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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23. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 22:05 Slick
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 20:56:
Exactly. Imagine if this ruleset would apply to sports events, we could kill Sky and all these premium scam artists that sell half-assed sport reports with zero interest in the material (Sky, again) because they have the license monopoly on em and can't be arsed nor kicked out because they got a contract for 5 years and guaranteed payments.

Meanwhile in gaming land, publishers forbid premium streaming exactly because they don't want this to happen (that 1 source becomes the only source and thus their marketing success is at the whim of that 1 source).

Funny you mention that, as that's what basically killed off the whole StarCraft phenomenon in South Korea, but it takes from both sides.

There were three TV networks that broadcast StarCraft content, it was the national passtime. Then with SC2 Bliz decided that they wanted to hold the reigns and formed their own channel which had exclusive access. It virtually killed the scene, as the "streamers" at the time you could call it (the other three TV channels) couldn't partake. If you wanted to watch people execute the perfect 6-pool ling rush then there was now only one shop in town selling...

And StarCraft 2 continues to be relevant as fuck today
 
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22. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 20:56 eRe4s3r
 
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 18:52:
Shit's kinda crazy when you think about it. For consumers, we're in a pretty good place with game streaming.

Exactly. Imagine if this ruleset would apply to sports events, we could kill Sky and all these premium scam artists that sell half-assed sport reports with zero interest in the material (Sky, again) because they have the license monopoly on em and can't be arsed nor kicked out because they got a contract for 5 years and guaranteed payments.

Meanwhile in gaming land, publishers forbid premium streaming exactly because they don't want this to happen (that 1 source becomes the only source and thus their marketing success is at the whim of that 1 source).

Game companies nowadays pick non-licensed tracks or license them specifically for streaming as well. There isn't a single modern AAA game that launches with tracks you can't stream or an option to disable em.
 
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21. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 19:23 Creston
 
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
I'm actually siding with the megacorps on this one

We should all be, because by-and-large the gaming industry has been pretty generous when it comes to streaming. I mean, Riot is basically saying "Hey, as an individual, feel free to make some money off our game."

They could all be like Nintendo, and then Twitch would just be fucking dead.

In any case, back to the drawing board, Twitch. No mooching money off someone else's work for you.

Edit: Fixed poor tag.

This comment was edited on Jul 2, 2019, 08:27.
 
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20. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 18:54 Slick
 
Sepharo wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 18:35:
[VG]Reagle wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 18:29:
Funny Gabe is lecturing us on how games should be free then righteously giving it to us right up the ass with Steam 40% markups. Way to go Gabe. Have another a third donut.

What part of this is relevant to this news item?

And I thought I hated steam lol. But they're all in the right here. Gotta keep our heads on through all of this or we'll lose our minds.
 
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For your transgressions you shall be labeled a shill, called an idiot and anytime you mention facts or disagree with a tribe member you will henceforth be known as a troll. The best you can hope for is that the labels won't haunt your offspring. -RedEye9
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19. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 18:52 Slick
 
jdreyer wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 17:32:
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
I'm actually siding with the megacorps
It's okay, man. We already knew that. What we don't know is which megacorps and how much they pay you.

Well professionally I've written exactly one article for Kotaku, so I guess Gawker owns my soul. They paid $150 for a month of back-and-forth work with my editor, it also took them around 6 months for the payment to clear.

What can I say? I'm a cheap date. Although I'm also participating in an upcoming EA Playtester event in my town. For 5 full days of testing I'm getting paid in Apex coins. Fuck yeah. My years of servitude have not gone unnoticed.

Also, getting back to the music industry analogy. It really is wild how Twitch even exists. Broadcasting rights for music is a fucking minefield. But for the otherwise cackling evil overlords plotting in their smoke-filled rooms at BigVideogame Inc., they haven't so much as done a spit-take of 200 year old brandy when told Twitch is making money from their product. Youtube too. Godforbid you use a copyrighted song in a youtube video, congrats, your monitization goes towards the label now. But have that track playing over a whole uncut, uncommented playthrough of Hello Kitty Adventure Club, and no one even considers that the game makers deserve any cut.

Shit's kinda crazy when you think about it. For consumers, we're in a pretty good place with game streaming.
 
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For your transgressions you shall be labeled a shill, called an idiot and anytime you mention facts or disagree with a tribe member you will henceforth be known as a troll. The best you can hope for is that the labels won't haunt your offspring. -RedEye9
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18. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 18:35 Sepharo
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 18:29:
Funny Gabe is lecturing us on how games should be free then righteously giving it to us right up the ass with Steam 40% markups. Way to go Gabe. Have another a third donut.

What part of this is relevant to this news item?
 
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17. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 18:29 [VG]Reagle
 
Funny Gabe is lecturing us on how games should be free then righteously giving it to us right up the ass with Steam 40% markups. Way to go Gabe. Have another a third donut.  
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16. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 17:32 jdreyer
 
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
I'm actually siding with the megacorps
It's okay, man. We already knew that. What we don't know is which megacorps and how much they pay you.
 
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The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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15. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 17:29 jdreyer
 
Beamer wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 16:40:
Cutter wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 15:42:
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
These premium streams should be 100% original content owned or created by the streamer. I can imagine like a live AMA for subs or something like that being totally acceptable. Or some kind of like awards show that can show off gameplay trailers perhaps, or stuff that's already in the public domain. I can see a niche for this in general terms, it broadens the idea of what a streamer is. This essentially gives them their own television channel with a similar payment model, and the same rules should apply (fair use should still be fair game).

I'm actually siding with the megacorps on this one (feel free to quote-mine this out of context), you can't play some band's new album on a stream and charge people to listen to it, while none of the revenue goes to the music label. Think of how lucky we are that video game corps didn't go down the same path as the music industry. We can watch a 100% "let's play" and literally see an entire game without paying a penny, and zero of any ad revenue generated goes to the game's publisher.

Only if you believe that you can only license software, I don't. I believe in ownership and the first sale doctrine. You can rent/charge people to see, paintings, books, movies, etc. that you own, so why can't you stream a game you've bought? How is it any different from people paying to look at the other media you own? I hate this arbitrary legal bullshit where some things like this are permitted and others are not. Do you have to pay a car manufacturer if you're going to charge people for ride-sharing? No. Yet somehow games and music are exempt from this? Either everything is sacred or nothing is.

Go ahead - buy a DVD of Aliens and pay people to come see it. Or buy the new Stephen King book and record yourself reading it, then put it on Amazon. See how well that goes for you.
I don't know Canadian law, but I think Cutter either just poorly articulated FSD, or misunderstands it. He's right that he can rent or sell his physical objects like disks and books. What he cannot do is charge for showings of media he owns, or make and sell audiobooks of the novels he owns.
 
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The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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14. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 16:40 Beamer
 
Cutter wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 15:42:
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
These premium streams should be 100% original content owned or created by the streamer. I can imagine like a live AMA for subs or something like that being totally acceptable. Or some kind of like awards show that can show off gameplay trailers perhaps, or stuff that's already in the public domain. I can see a niche for this in general terms, it broadens the idea of what a streamer is. This essentially gives them their own television channel with a similar payment model, and the same rules should apply (fair use should still be fair game).

I'm actually siding with the megacorps on this one (feel free to quote-mine this out of context), you can't play some band's new album on a stream and charge people to listen to it, while none of the revenue goes to the music label. Think of how lucky we are that video game corps didn't go down the same path as the music industry. We can watch a 100% "let's play" and literally see an entire game without paying a penny, and zero of any ad revenue generated goes to the game's publisher.

Only if you believe that you can only license software, I don't. I believe in ownership and the first sale doctrine. You can rent/charge people to see, paintings, books, movies, etc. that you own, so why can't you stream a game you've bought? How is it any different from people paying to look at the other media you own? I hate this arbitrary legal bullshit where some things like this are permitted and others are not. Do you have to pay a car manufacturer if you're going to charge people for ride-sharing? No. Yet somehow games and music are exempt from this? Either everything is sacred or nothing is.

Go ahead - buy a DVD of Aliens and pay people to come see it. Or buy the new Stephen King book and record yourself reading it, then put it on Amazon. See how well that goes for you.
 
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13. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 16:32 jacobvandy
 
Cutter wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 15:42:
Only if you believe that you can only license software, I don't. I believe in ownership and the first sale doctrine. You can rent/charge people to see, paintings, books, movies, etc. that you own, so why can't you stream a game you've bought? How is it any different from people paying to look at the other media you own? I hate this arbitrary legal bullshit where some things like this are permitted and others are not. Do you have to pay a car manufacturer if you're going to charge people for ride-sharing? No. Yet somehow games and music are exempt from this? Either everything is sacred or nothing is.

Copyright covers "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression." That does not include cars (yet), though it does include everything else you mentioned. You are not free to charge people to look at your paintings, books, or movies unless you made them yourself. First sale doctrine says you're allowed to let other people look at them and to re-sell the tangible mediums, but it does not mean you have the same rights to them as their original authors.
 
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12. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 15:42 Cutter
 
Slick wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 14:29:
These premium streams should be 100% original content owned or created by the streamer. I can imagine like a live AMA for subs or something like that being totally acceptable. Or some kind of like awards show that can show off gameplay trailers perhaps, or stuff that's already in the public domain. I can see a niche for this in general terms, it broadens the idea of what a streamer is. This essentially gives them their own television channel with a similar payment model, and the same rules should apply (fair use should still be fair game).

I'm actually siding with the megacorps on this one (feel free to quote-mine this out of context), you can't play some band's new album on a stream and charge people to listen to it, while none of the revenue goes to the music label. Think of how lucky we are that video game corps didn't go down the same path as the music industry. We can watch a 100% "let's play" and literally see an entire game without paying a penny, and zero of any ad revenue generated goes to the game's publisher.

Only if you believe that you can only license software, I don't. I believe in ownership and the first sale doctrine. You can rent/charge people to see, paintings, books, movies, etc. that you own, so why can't you stream a game you've bought? How is it any different from people paying to look at the other media you own? I hate this arbitrary legal bullshit where some things like this are permitted and others are not. Do you have to pay a car manufacturer if you're going to charge people for ride-sharing? No. Yet somehow games and music are exempt from this? Either everything is sacred or nothing is.
 
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11. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 15:20 Choachy
 
I can see a rare occasion when sub-only streams may occur. Maybe a streamer wants to reward their subs. But I agree with what someone else said, it should only be for original content (IRL, creative, etc.).

Otherwise, I see it actually hurting a streamer. They get lots of donations/tips/bits from non-subs.
 
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10. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 14:57 Kxmode
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 13:04:
Right on. Fuck Twitch. Fuck subs. Fuck it all.

You're an interesting person, Parker.
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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9. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 14:56 Kxmode
 
Going premium would make streaming copyrighted content a commercial enterprise, which would require a license and/or permission from the publisher.  
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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8. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 14:29 Slick
 
These premium streams should be 100% original content owned or created by the streamer. I can imagine like a live AMA for subs or something like that being totally acceptable. Or some kind of like awards show that can show off gameplay trailers perhaps, or stuff that's already in the public domain. I can see a niche for this in general terms, it broadens the idea of what a streamer is. This essentially gives them their own television channel with a similar payment model, and the same rules should apply (fair use should still be fair game).

I'm actually siding with the megacorps on this one (feel free to quote-mine this out of context), you can't play some band's new album on a stream and charge people to listen to it, while none of the revenue goes to the music label. Think of how lucky we are that video game corps didn't go down the same path as the music industry. We can watch a 100% "let's play" and literally see an entire game without paying a penny, and zero of any ad revenue generated goes to the game's publisher.
 
Avatar 57545
 
For your transgressions you shall be labeled a shill, called an idiot and anytime you mention facts or disagree with a tribe member you will henceforth be known as a troll. The best you can hope for is that the labels won't haunt your offspring. -RedEye9
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7. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 14:16 saluk
 
Streamers should pay attention to the TOS of the games they stream then, and should then be appropriately punished for a TOS violation.  
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6. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 14:06 Luke
 
This is just........ahh forget it  
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5. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 13:39 Fion
 
What exactly would you get for the money to watch premium streams? It's the same game & content everyone else would be streaming for free.  
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4. Re: Subscriber-Only Streams May Violate Terms of Service Jul 1, 2019, 13:34 Cutter
 
wtf_man wrote on Jul 1, 2019, 13:07:
Hate to say it... but all they have to do is make a "free stream" some shit resolution like 240p, and give it poor bandwidth so it stutters / buffers alot.

And then a competing service comes along offering HD and destroys Twitch. No, what makes more sense and will likely happen is Twitch will simply pay these companies a licensing fee based on pay per view.
 
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