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Dr Disrespect's Twitch Ban–One Week On And We Still Don't Know Why

High-profile Twitch streamer Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV (better known as Dr Disrespect) has been banned from the livestreaming platform yet again. And this time, it seems to be permanent, rather than a temporary matter involving a DMCA. Beahm himself said he is unsure of why he was banned. However, others on Twitter claim the reason could be very serious, and not because of a copyright claim, as some originally speculated. We still don’t know why Beahm was hit with a ban. His punishment is one of the highest-profile bans in Twitch history, and a week after the decision was handed down we still don’t have a clear idea of why this ban has happened.

Why Was Dr Disrespect Banned From Twitch?

It’s unclear exactly why or how long Dr Disrespect will be banned. Following news of the ban Dr Disrespect did not say anything publicly about the situation, and searching for his Twitch account yielded no results. However, on June 27, a day after news of the ban broke, Beahm broke his silence and posted an update on Twitter, addressing his fans. According to the streamer, Twitch has not provided him with any specific reason for the ban. Meanwhile, Monday’s temporary suspension of Donald Trump was accompanied by specific reasoning, with Twitch even citing specific violations of its “hateful conduct” policy.

Dr Disrespect’s Statement On His Ban

Regarding Dr Disrespect’s ban, Twitch has offered no specific explanation for the move publicly. Of course, this has left room for speculation. Some have suggested that it could be the result of a DMCA takedown (of which there has been a flurry recent). However, this would ordinarily result in a temporary ban.

Twitch’s Statement On Dr Disrespect’s Ban

When we reached out to Twitch for comment, we were given the same generic statement already offered to the wider community: “As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.”

The Twitch Community Reacts To Dr Disrespect’s Ban

Dr Disrespect was banned from the livestreaming platform back in June 2019 for broadcasting from a public restroom at E3. The ban only lasted two weeks and saw a divisive response from the Twitch community.

According to esports reporter Rod Breslau, Dr Disrepsect’s ban is not related to a DMCA measure, and is in fact a permanent ban, rather than a temporary one. This was the first indication there could be something more serious going on than a simple copyright issue. Twitch is also giving refunds to those who had subscribed to his channel and his emotes are no longer on the site.

Breslau also shared a video from Beahm’s final stream that showed him struggling to speak, possibly because he knew what was about to happen.

Zach Bussey, who reports on Twitch happenings, indicated there won’t be a public statement shared by Twitch regarding the ban, but that he too has heard it is permanent.

Another streamer, Shannon Plante (AKA ShannonZKiller), indicated that she’s heard the Dr Disrepect ban is a permanent one, adding that the cause is “serious.” She offered no further specifics, saying she knows the reason for the ban but that she “cannot say” more. She does state that he is “done, and not just on Twitch.” At the time of this writing, his YouTube channel and Twitter account remain online, but Plante deleted her tweet.

Dr Disrespect’s ban comes not long after Twitch removed several other prominent streamers for alleged sexual abuse and harassment, including IamSp00n, BlessRNG, DreadedCone, and others. Earlier this week, Twitch said it would be issuing permanent suspensions following its investigation into these allegations. The accusations led to a Twitch blackout, with streamers staying off the platform for a day to encourage the streaming service to take action against abusers.

Giphy Removes Dr Disrespect GIFs

Popular GIF hosting service Giphy has also apparently removed GIF material featuring Beahm from its site. This is despite the reasoning behind the ban still not being made public.

In related news, two Ubisoft executives were suspended as the company continues its internal investigation into recent misconduct allegations. A day prior, Ubisoft released a statement about these allegations and its response to them, stating its commitment to “taking any and all appropriate disciplinary action” if necessary.

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eSports

The Most Watched Twitch Channels of H1 2020

Whatever expectations Twitch viewers had for 2020 were quickly thrown out the window in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Streaming viewership worldwide soared, with Stream Elements reporting that Twitch saw 101% growth year-over-year in April. On top of the general growing interest in streaming and gaming, the closed beta of Riot Games’ new shooter VALORANT brought with it an unprecedented demand for viewer rewards and record numbers.

Still, with all the upheaval of 2020 so far, the name at the top of the list has been among the most consistent performers on Twitch for several years. Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar generated 76.97M hours watched during the first half of the year. While a significant portion of that viewership came during April’s VALORANT craze, Lazar has established himself as a variety streamer, broadcasting a wide array of games. This makes him able to remain relevant regardless of how trends ebb and flow on the platform.

The month of VALORANT viewer-inflation was especially beneficial to one streamer – Ludwig “Anomaly” Lagerstedt. An unlikely contender for Top 10 under normal circumstances, Lagerstedt used the high demand for closed beta access in combination with 24/7 replays of previous broadcasts in order to catapult to 4th place with 46.94M hours watched. His success was so directly linked to this manipulation of the viewership incentive program that Twitch had to change its policy regarding previously-recorded broadcasts being used during a drop period.

Lastly, it is worth noting the absence of the Riot Games channel – a staple at the top of Twitch throughout 2019. This year, Riot decided to separate the various League of Legends leagues into their own channels. While this gives a more accurate picture of viewership for each league, the loss of a primary aggregate stream sufficiently reduced Riot’s hours watched on a single channel to make Top 10 appearances much rarer. Various leagues have appeared in the top 10 during pivotal weeks, but have not remained staples of the top 10 the way their combined viewership did in previous years.

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Twitch Streamers Flooded With DMCA Copyright Claims On Old Clips

Copyright strikes are an occupational hazard for many Twitch streamers and content creators, but a recent surge of DMCA takedown requests has overwhelmed the community. Now, Twitch support staff has responded to complaints, stating that the claims are focused on clips with background music from 2017 to 2019, and recommending that streamers remove them. The tweets also state that this is the first time that Twitch has received mass DMCA claims against clips. [Update: Dr. Disrespect has been banned from Twitch. Although the initial speculation pointed to this being related to a DMCA situation and thus resulting in a temporary suspension, sources have suggested the ban is permanent.]

The action also prompted a response from advocates like Ryan Morrison, better known as the Video Game Attorney. Morrison advised content creators not to counter the claims without speaking to an intellectual property lawyer. “You are quite literally telling them you are going to continue what you’re doing unless they sue you,” he tweeted. “Don’t threaten billionaire companies to sue you. Lawyer up.”

In follow-up tweets, Morrison noted that Twitch did not change their policies–instead, it appears that it’s merely being enforced in a meaningful way for the first time on the platform. He also said that streamers are mistaken if they believe that they can stream the game and its music because they “own it,” stating that you actually buy a license to play the game, and commercial use is usually not allowed under the terms of service.

He ends with a call to action: if streamers dislike these laws, they need to fight for policy change at the legislative level. “There are much more important issues going on in society right now, obviously, but the DMCA process needs a rewrite with where the internet is. Most streamers are 100% infringing. That needs to change,” he said.

If you’re looking to start your own streaming career, we’ve got recommendations on the best capture cards for YouTube and Twitch.

Update: In addition to VODs and clips, companies may also reportedly begin to target livestreams on Twitch as well. You can hear IP lawyer Noah Downs reference this in the video below.

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News

Twitch Starts Banning Streamers Accused Of Sexual Abuse

Following the wave of recent accusations of sexual abuse against popular Twitch streamers last weekend, the livestreaming platform has begun banning some of these accounts.

According to a Kotaku report and corroborated by Twitter account StreamerBans, several prominent streamers–including IamSp00n, Wolv21, BlessRNG, DreadedCone, and WarwitchTV–have been banned this week. Each one of these streamers has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment, ranging from sending sexually explicit messages to known minors to physically taking advantage of women at gaming conventions. [Update: In what appears to be an unrelated action, Twitch has seemingly banned DrDisrepect.]

The bans come not long after Twitch issued a statement about plans to thoroughly investigate each allegation. “We are reviewing each case that has come to light as quickly as possible while ensuring appropriate due diligence as we assess these serious allegations,” the statement read. “We’ve prioritized the most severe cases and will begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with our findings immediately.”

Twitch also said it remains committed to making the platform a safe environment for communities to congregate. “We’re also committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment with more tools to combat harassment and hate,” the statement said. “We have work underway including a review of our Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies, enhanced offensive username detection, improvements to AutoMod and our Banned Words list, and other projects focused on reducing harassment and hateful conduct.”

The games industry is continuing to see an ongoing #metoo movement. Several high-profile figures, such as former Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail and former Dying Light 2 writer Chris Avellone, have had multiple allegations levied against them. In both situations, the accused individual is no longer associated with the project or projects they were working on. Avellone has also had his contributions removed from the upcoming RPG Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2.

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