Australian streamer Mark McKenzie, aka Werster, copped a temporary ban from Twitch.tv yesterday while streaming Pokemon Ultra Sun. Twitch prohibits the streaming of unauthorised pre-release content.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were not released in America at the time of the ban. The games were released in Australia. Time zones are hard.
Werster is a prolific Twitch streamer with an impressive resume of Pokemon speedrunning achievements. To celebrate the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon yesterday, Werster decided to stream Ultra Sun.
One slight hiccough, Twitch doesn’t allow people to broadcast games before they’re released.
Just because the games were released on November 17 doesn’t mean that the games were released worldwide at the same time.
The east coast of Australia is 16 hours ahead of the east coast of America and 10 hours ahead of Germany, where Werster is currently visiting.
Erring on the side of caution, Werster asked Twitter for advice.
No idea when I can play/stream Ultra Sun from the eShop. 3DS is Australian, I'm in Germany, some sources saying all american time (lol?). So could be in 6 hours, 16 hours, or 22 hours. Anyone know for certain?— Mark McKenzie (@wersterlobe) November 16, 2017
The general consensus was that it was okay for him to go live with an Australia copy of Pokemon. So Werster bought a copy of Ultra Sun through the Nintendo eShop and started streaming.
It turns out that consensus was wrong.
Shortly into the stream, Werster’s account was banned from Twitch after Nintendo of America filed a DMCA take-down notice against his channel.
Viewers of the stream were given the error message: “Sorry. Unless you’ve got a time machine, that content is unavailable.”
The use and misuse of DMCA take-downs has drawn controversy in the past. In this case, it seems like a simple misunderstanding of time zones.
I think buying a game through the eShop is the most legal way you could. Straight from the company, no reseller to distribute at all. And I get suspended for streaming it. Unreal, Nintendo. Plenty of real targets and you shoot at this guy— Mark McKenzie (@wersterlobe) November 16, 2017
The only recourse users have against these notices is to file a counter-claim and hope. There are no other protections in place for users who stream games purchased legally prior to their release in America, where Twitch and many of the copyright holders are based.
Werster was able to file a counter-claim and his account was restored shortly after midnight on the east coast of America. Coincidentally, right after Pokemon Ultra Sun had been officially released in that region.