Valve Wades Into 'Dota 2' Facebook Streaming Controversy

The issue is complicated

Valve Friday waded into the growing turmoil surrounding recent news that the ESL signed an exclusivity deal with Facebook to stream Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro League, ESL Dota 2 and Global Offensive tournament series. While the statement reasserts Valve's authority as the final arbiter of takedown notices for unauthorized streams, it didn't really directly address the issue

"We’ve been seeing a bunch of discussion regarding DotaTV and want to expand on what we’ve said before," according to the statement from Valve. "The first issue we’ve been seeing discussed is regarding DMCA notices. This one is very simple: 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).

"The second issue is regarding who is permitted to cast off of DotaTV. We designed the DotaTV guidelines to be flexible in order to allow for up and coming casters, or community figures like BSJ or Bulldog that occasionally watch tournament games on their channel, to be able to stream off of DotaTV. It is not to allow commercial organizations like BTS to compete with the primary stream. It’ll be our judgment alone on who violates this guideline and not any other third party’s."

This week saw a number of Dota 2 players began reporting they'd been banned from streaming services. As Polygon points out, Brian Canavan, a position one Dota players for VGJ.Storm, revealed on Twitter they'd been banned from Twitch after streaming ESL Genting One matches. Another streamer, Henrik Ahnberg, removed their own stream due to concerns ESL may take similar actions. 

"Anyone can stream Dota, as Valve stated after TI7, as long as they are community streamers free of commercial interest,” an ESL representative said on Reddit. “Keeping with these guidelines, and the agreement we have to broadcast ESL One, we are not going to allow any streams that are competing with our main language streams and we cant let streams that monetize content from this tournament stay up.”

According to Polygon, numerous players are planning a boycott of official ESL tournaments streamed on Facebook, feeling it's in their right to stream ESL events based on Valve's own rules.  That said, it also appears these rules may be subject to change in the future as internal discussions between ESL and Valve continue. 

“We talked to [Valve] about the policy in the context of the Facebook deal,” senior vice president of product at ESL Ulrich Schulze said in Reddit AMA. “Overall, we feel that the policy is still far to open to interpretation. At the moment, even if an organizer has an exclusive deal with Twitch, anyone could just stream DotaTV of the matches on Youtube. I believe there will be more discussion around this in the coming weeks."