Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Twitch Promotions ???

    Twitch changed part of their ToS concerning 'promotions' or usually referred to as 'give-aways'. They changed ToS after a big streamer, who I won't mention got banned for violating Twitch's ToS. There were most likely other channels shut down as well, because I cant imagine he was the only one holding similar 'give-aways' for subscribers only, which came down to holding a raffle. When subscribing and thus having to pay a certain amount of money which gets divided between Twitch and the streamer and only then having a chance to win in a give-away is considered illegal by US law. So Twitch changed their ToS to rule out any infringements for themselves. Here is the part of the ToS involved (http://www.twitch.tv/user/legal):
10. Broadcasters

f. Promotions

Broadcasters may promote, administer or conduct a promotion on, through or utilizing Twitch (a “Promotion”). If you are a Broadcaster and you choose to promote, administer or conduct a Promotion, you must follow the following rules:
  • You may not conduct a Promotion if the aggregate value of all prizes awarded in the Promotion exceeds $5,000;
  • Your Promotion may not require the entrant to submit any User Content(as defined below);
  • Your Promotion may only be open to residents of the fifty (50) United States (including Washington D.C.);
  • Entrants must be 18 or older, or the age of majority under applicable law.
  • Your Promotion must be free to enter.
  • Generally, your Promotion should not require entrants to endorse a product or otherwise comment or provide an opinion on a product in such a way that a reasonable person may believe the endorsement, comment or opinion is from the entrant. If it is possible that you may be asking an entrant to make such an endorsement, comment or opinion, you must require the entrant to disclose that he or she receives a promotion entry in exchange for such endorsement, comment or opinion;
  • You may not indicate that Twitch is a sponsor or co-sponsor of the Promotion.
  • Your Promotion must have a set of Official Rules that contain all details, disclosures and other information required by applicable law and that otherwise comply with law.
  • Your Promotion must be conducted, and prizes awarded, as described in your Official Rules.
  • You must comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in your execution of the Promotion.
  • There are a number of laws and requirements associated with promotions, so ask an expert if you have questions or concerns.
You, at your expense, will be solely responsible for all aspects of your Promotion, including, without limitation, the execution, administration, and operation of the Promotion; drafting and posting the Official Rules; selecting winners; issuing prizes; and obtaining all necessary third-party permissions and approvals, including, without limitation, filing any and all necessary registrations and bonds. Twitch has the right to remove your Promotion from the Twitch Service for any reason.


    So this means that even if I were to do a give-away, only US (50 states) 18+ citizens can actually win? I am located in Europe, The Netherlands to be precise, but anything I would wish to give away can only go to the US viewers? This seems really unfair for a streaming site with streamers from all over the world.
    Apart from these rules in the ToS, it is still a lot of work to set up a proper 'promotion' or give-away, a lot of rules apply according to US law. For example, you will need to show all participants in the give-away as well as show the winner properly. Drawing the winner needs to be done publicly as well. It needs a full set of rules and disclosures to show the viewer how exactly the raffle will work and who is actually eligible to join. Now you will have to somehow be able to be sure someone is US based and 18+ of age. Basically this cant be done without having viewers sign a legal document before they enter any give-away. This seems to be almost impossible considering ...
    I can see how a raffle should most likely not be allowed or a lottery for that matter, but damn, even plain old free for all give-aways are no longer allowed. So giving an advantage as a reward for subscribing to a channel is NOT done, nor is it fair to exclude non-subscribers in a give-away, this would be called a raffle and considered illegal! I can see that, although many streamers used to do so or similar.
    Now what about Twitch Coins or whatever they call this virtual currency on many a Twitch channel where they reward you in all kinds of ways? Become a subscriber and get rewarded with an entry in a give-away! Watch us more often to get more of this virtual credit for even better rewards! Multiple entries for subbing to a channel or adding increased chances in give-aways through virtual currency! This to me basically comes down to the same as holding a raffle and should be banned according to Twitch's ToS. Too bad I still see this happen on quite a few channels though.

    Why not just call it a donation and deal with it that way? Chances for winning a gift should be equal for every viewer, being subbed or not, watching often or not, being a whatever or not. All that is needed is being there when the give-away is being held so you can actually receive your gift/donation through whatever means the internet has to offer. The internet is World Wide and not limited to the US (50 states) only. Or just ban give-aways all together and not allow them at all! Make up your mind Twitch, before Twitch becomes one big commercial money making race, or ... wait, it is already?! Nothing wrong with a well earned buck though ;-)

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