The conflict started over a week ago, really, before the most recent tournament of WePlay has even started.
According to WePlay, they received a written complaint from the RuHUB studio in which was stated that WePlay casters are streaming on their own personal twitch.tv channels content from RuHUB. The conflict was closed fast but, re-opened yesterday when WePlay made a copyright infringement official complaint to Twitch and managed to get Roman “CaspeRRR” Lepokhin’s twitch.tv channel blocked.
WePlay are running this week a $50,000 online event. CaspeRRR, who is a part of the Ru.HUB studio, has streamed the matches directly from the DotaTV client without any sponsor advertisement, following Valve’s guidelines. However, WePlay explained that they felt that his action was somehow directly related with the last week’s exchange of letters. This cat and mouse game played by the two studios now, has happened before and with a bigger TO involved. In 2017, ESL One issued a DMCA claim on Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg and Brian “BananaSlamJamma” Canavan and forced Valve to react back then. In Valve’s post from October 13, 2017 the Dota 2 developer explains:
“[…] anyone should be able to broadcast a match from DotaTV for their audience. However, we don’t think they should do so in a commercial manner or in a way that directly competes with the tournament organizer’s stream. This means no advertising/branding overlays, and no sponsorships. It also means not using any of the official broadcast’s content such as caster audio, camerawork, overlays, interstitial content, and so on. Finally, this is not permission for studios to broadcast each other’s events.”
A few months later, in January 2018 Valve revisited the topic and made another blog post where they specifically state: “No one besides Valve is allowed to send DMCA notices for games streamed off of DotaTV that aren’t using the broadcasters’ unique content (camera movements, voice, etc).”
CaspeRRR hasn’t done anything to violate the Valve rules although WePlay managed to get his Twitch account banned. Late last night, Forward Gaming’s CEO and co-founder David Dashtoyan, announced that his organization will not participate in any of the WePlay future tournaments until the studio issues and official apology.
WePlay replied today with a Reddit thread where they explained the whole situation and pointed fingers left and right, talking in general about the incident from last week and how everything that happened to CaspeRR was more of chained defensive reaction.
“We want to underline that the ban of CaspeRRR was not a single event but was one of the last shots in the conflict between WePlay! and RuHub. We support independent casters that are following Valve rules and [we are] ready to help them to grow using our content,” said WePlay at the end of their Reddit thread.
Later on, WePlay issued an official apology posted on their website and stated that they initiated the withdrawal of the DMCA claim against CaspeRRR.