Pokimane, one of Twitch’s biggest and most popular streamers with over 8.5 million followers, was banned from the platform last night while streaming the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. The ban is temporary, according to Pokimane, but is a sign that Twitch’s growing “TV Meta” is probably going to cause further problems for big and small streamers.
On January 7 at around 8 p.m. EST, Pokimane was streaming to an audience of about 25,000 while watching the Nickelodeon TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time. The stream featured a live shot of her reacting in the corner of a fullscreen broadcast of episodes from the show. Midway through the stream, it’s reported that Pokimane received a live DMCA ban, abruptly ending the broadcast.
Shortly after that, the StreamerBans bot on Twitter shared the news: Pokimane was banned from Twitch. This is the streamer’s first ban. Kotaku has reached out to Pokimane about the ban and if she plans on streaming TV shows again.
Pokimane took to Twitter a few minutes after the ban and tweeted that “The Fire Nation attacked” a direct reference to the Avatar show and to the recent ban. A few hours later the popular streamer confirmed that the ban was only temporary and after 48 hours she would be able to stream again on Twitch.
While it might seem odd to stream yourself watching a TV show, this has become a popular trend on Twitch. This “TV Meta” sees streamers watching TV shows and cartoons with their viewers.
Checking Twitch now, as I’m writing this sentence, I can see at least a half dozen streamers in the “Just Chatting” category watching old animated shows and wrestling events. Of course, almost all of this content is owned by large companies who usually aren’t too keen on random people broadcasting their copyrighted material for free to thousands of people. So it’s not shocking that even a big streamer like Pokimane would encounter some legal pushback, in the form of a DMCA ban, for streaming TV shows.
It’s too early to tell if this very public and big ban for streaming a TV show will have any effect on the ongoing TV Meta over on Twitch.
It seems likely that big streamers might think twice about streaming some old Invader Zim episodes if it could lead to a DMCA strike against their channel. And for smaller streamers, who don’t have the money or clout to fight Twitch, it could lead to permanent bans, making the proposition of Twitch watch parties and the TV meta even riskier.