Top Twitch Streamers Banned For Restreaming CNN Debates

Twitch issued bans to at least three streamers yesterday for restreaming the second night of the Democratic Debate on CNN. Streamers Trihex, Hasan, and Destiny have all have their accounts suspended for copyright violations and will have their VODs of last nights streams deleted.

All three banned streamers were partnered, meaning their channels are monetized through subscriptions and ad revenue. Many other channels restreamed the debates as well, but it would appear as of yet only Destiny, Hasan, and Trihex have been banned. The streamers broke the news on their Twitter accounts, and all 3 have some strong opinions about the legitimacy of the ban.

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The bans are a result of a DMCA issued to Twitch by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. Despite the debates having been streamed for free (with ads) on CNN's website, Time Warner has the right and possibly even the obligation to protect their content. When Twitch receives a DMCA they immediately remove the copyright-infringing content and issue a 24 hour ban to the violator. It's difficult to assign blame to any one in this situation, as this is just the nature of copyright law as it is today.

It is, however, disappointing that the exposure and discourse these streamers were offering with their channels is being prevented by bureaucratic intellectual property laws. Trihex said as much in his tweets about the situation, saying "Not in denial that the broadcast isn't CNN's property. But am sad that something *like* Democratic Primary Debates/Coverage can be privatized and AREN'T public somewhere like C-SPAN or generally agreed beneficial to belong to Public Domain."

It isn't unreasonable to think that thousands or possibly even tens of thousands of Twitch's audience that otherwise wouldn't watch the debates were exposed to them by these streamers. All 3 of these streamers have massive and loyal audiences, and its a shame to think that copyright law is getting in the way of engaging the American people with political discourse and the future of this country. Yes, the debates are available on CNN for any one that wants to watch them, but if these streamers are getting people interested in political discourse, isn't that a good thing?

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