xQc challenging Twitch DMCA ban is important, and this is why

By Steven Rondina


Aug 2, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Félix “xQc” Lengyel was banned from Twitch after a DMCA claim for watching highlights of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, and he says he’s going to be fighting back.

The streamer returned to Twitch and discussed the DMCA ban, noting that his legal team wasn’t going to take it lying down. While most are forced to simply eat Twitch’s uneven enforcement of copyright claims, xQc is going to be swinging back against the International Olympic Committee.

“We issued a counterclaim, which is pretty ballsy. What a counterclaim is, so they strike me. Then instead of ‘oh, I fucked up,’ it’s kind of like saying ‘no, I’m right, kind of. This is transformative content, this is fair use, and this is not what you guys claim it is.’…We’re fighting back,” xQc said.

xQc then stressed that if the case escalates, it could get “crazy.” While this might just be bombast from the streamer, he’s not wrong that this potential case carries significant implications for all content creators on Twitch and perhaps elsewhere.

xQc suing IOC would be huge for all Twitch streamers

If xQc is serious about challenging the International Olympic Committee in court over its DMCA claim against him, it would be a potentially landmark case across all forms of social media. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was a major law in 1998 that strengthened the hold companies have on their IPs. The law has dictated many of the rules regarding content on social media in recent years, despite being written seven years before the founding of YouTube and 13 years before the launch of Twitch.

The last few years of Twitch have revolved around major media companies becoming increasingly aggressive with DMCA claims made on streamers. The plaintiffs in these cases have primarily been record labels going after streamers who play music in the background of their streams or play games that have licensed music, but there have been a number of other cases as well.

One of the exceptions written into the DMCA relates to creating content that is “transformative,” where a copyrighted work is expanded on to the point where it’s unique unto itself rather than derivative of the copyrighted work. A great number of videos and streams that have been affected by the DMCA would likely qualify as such, but none have been willing to tackle the long, expensive, and potentially risky process of challenging a claim.

If xQc follows through with this, it would be a major legal case that would carry significant implications for all content creators and media companies. A court ruling in favor of xQc would set a precedent that might allow content creators to more easily challenge DMCA claims, while a court ruling in favor of the IOC would cement the established claimants as in the right from a legal perspective.

While that would be huge, the question now is whether xQc will actually see this legal case through to completion. It’s still possible that he may bow out of the case at some point as it could take years to reach a decision and may cost millions of dollars in legal fees.


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