Twitch Marketing Promo Over Golden Emoji Goes Horribly Wrong After DMCA Nuclear Strike

from the not-the-time dept

Mere days ago, we discussed the bonkers path Twitch chose for itself in dealing with a flood of DMCA takedowns issued by the RIAA. The whole episode screamed of panic. Rather than dealing with DMCA takedowns via the normal method -- taking down the content, providing the content maker with a path for a counternotice, and then putting the content back if no lawsuit was filed -- , Twitch, instead, took the extraordinary action of simply and permanently nuking the videos in question. It then, rather brazenly, informed the content maker it had done so and advised them to "learn about copyright law." In fact, given its actions, there is some question as to whether or not this is all enough to have lost Twitch its safe harbor protections.

Regardless, it would be an understatement to suggest that this pissed off the Twitch community. The public backlash was both swift and severe, with content producers openly wondering if it was time to march off to a different platform entirely. Well, the very next day, Twitch began teasing a new offering coming in November and promoted this tease by releasing a sought after emote to all Twitch users.

Yesterday, Twitch took to teasing something that’s happening on November 14 (likely a digital convention called GlitchCon), as though everything is right as rain and not a corporate-friendly garbage fire. Twitch tweeted out a video that said “There’s a place where all Kappas are golden” and then temporarily turned all Kappa emotes gold.

For perhaps as long as Twitch has existed, there has been a myth: On exceedingly rare occasions, if the stars align perfectly, the ever-popular “Kappa” chat emote will turn gold. Some have suggested that a single Twitch user receives golden Kappa abilities every 24 hours. Others believe you have to fulfill highly specific prerequisites in order to unlock it. Yesterday, out of the blue, Twitch gave it to everybody. Twitch streamers and viewers, in turn, did not give a shit, because they were too busy recovering from the DMCApocalypse.

It was actually worse than streamers and users not giving a shit. This fully angered people, given Twitch's actions merely hours earlier. Streamers ran to Twitter and elsewhere to congratulate Twitch on its completely tone-deaf attempt to win over users with an emote, while others noted that Twitch had some serious communicating to do with the community and "shiny emotes" ought not have been on the agenda. Others once again wondered allowed if Twitch was the right platform on which to stream.

“Twitch gets slammed by the music industry, meanwhile they changed all the Kappas to gold, maybe in the hopes we all forget about how terribly the company has been running,” said Rocket League pro Lethamyr. “I think it’s nearly time to stream live on YouTube.”

And its not as though Twitch's extreme actions have even gotten the RIAA and its comrades off of the platform's back. Instead, various industry groups released a letter still complaining that Twitch wasn't doing enough on the copyright front and was mismanaging its Soundtrack by Twitch feature, which is supposed to help streamers use authorized music.

In other words, in a world where Twitch was presented with the choice of siding with its own content creators and users, or the copyright industry associations, it took the bold step of managing to piss off everyone instead. That it thought that golden emojis would somehow either stave off criticism of the platform, or at least be received without this resulting anger, seems to indicate that there are some very out of touch folks running this company at the moment.

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Filed Under: copyright, dmca, golden emoji, marketing stunts
Companies: twitch


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  1. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They are, but they're also currently in a dominant position that allows them to get away with things."

    An absurdist position relying on some seriously broken logic. I mean, the reason they have so far held dominant position is because so far they haven't been utter garbage. Marketing hype will only take you so far when the people you piss off are "your community, as a whole". I realize full well they may be thinking they're Ma Bell, given their action here...I just can't understand why.

    "...and while some people use YouTube for similar things many people just use Twitch as their default go-to, whether that's as a streamer or viewer."

    Possibly because Youtube has proven difficult to work with over contentID and DMCA takedowns.
    But what Twitch just did is just so much worse - and something I suspect their legal department may now be advising them has to continue for the sake of their safe harbor. It's now their demonstrated practice to nuke from orbit the second the DMCA calls.

    "Unless they go too far or have some major technical hiccup that leaves their service unreliable for a length of time..."

    See the Cox verdict and argument. Twitch has just acted to nuke a massive amount of streams based entirely on DMCA allegation. Either this is their policy - in which case to retain safe harbor they must continue to adhere to that policy...
    ...or it's not their policy in which case, as Geigner points out, they may lose safe harbor over violating their own policy.

    THIS is the real whammy they just invited . I'm not sure to what extent Rightscorp is still operational but the very second Twitch pulled this stunt a thousand copyright trolls just came in their pants. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    "Doesn't it? A quick search suggests that in 2019 they had 73% of the market, and the nearest competitor in the breakdown I had a glance at no longer exists (Mixer)."

    No, that only shows a heavy market share. Google and to some degree FB have an entire ecosystem around their google accounts making it very convenient to use that one login to access your personalized version of google play, youtube, gmail, maps, etc etc. There's a soft incentive to use google for all your needs because it's so damn convenient. For the hard lock-in of course, see Oracle.

    "Erm, I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to here in context, but you do know who owns Twitch, right?"

    I refer to the part of the business Twitch may just have sunk being, in fact, the main part of their business. Amazon's AWS has grown to the point where the online retail might almost just be the brand logo and a lot of inconvenient labor union hassles as far as Bezos is concerned. Twitch doesn't have a secondary revenue source to fall back on to make up for the primary one potentially running right into the ground.

    "It makes more sense to play ball and hopefully end up in a position where they continue..."

    But that's just the point. Everyone who played ball with those wolves ended up increasingly pressured or gone. It's become pretty damn clear that if you give the copyright cult a minute of your time they will spend that minute to trying to punch you. If you turn the other cheek they hit you again, or kick you in the nuts.

    Twitch, as a platform which allows self-publishing, is one of those things the incumbent giants want gone, for good. And that's been made so clear by now that it's almost impossible for anyone running an online service today to be unaware of it.

    The only way to rationalize this would be if Twitch's XO's know they've got other jobs lined up so what happens a year from now is someone else's business as long as they can fend the rabid wolf off for that long.


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