Streamlabs has promised to remove “OBS” from the name of its livestreaming software, Streamlabs OBS, following backlash from streamers and the open-source livestreaming platform OBS Studio. OBS Studio says it asked Streamlabs not to use its name, which stands for “Open Broadcaster Software,” only to have the company do so anyway. Streamlabs has also been accused of copying the website of another broadcasting software, with all the drama hashed out on Twitter.
The controversy started when Lightstream, another livestreaming app maker, tweeted out screenshots of its website right beside Streamlabs’, saying, “Hey, can I copy your homework?” suggesting that Streamlabs copied Lightstream. Stu Grubbs, the CEO of Lightstream, later retweeted the image, stating, “The team at @streamlabs should be ashamed. Not satisfied enough to ride @OBSProject’s hard work.”
We’re often faced with confused users and even companies who do not understand the difference between the two apps.— OBS (@OBSProject) November 17, 2021
Support volunteers are sometimes met with angry users demanding refunds. We've had interactions with several companies who did not realize our apps were separate.
Following Grubbs’ tweet, OBS got in on the action — in a reply to Grubb, OBS alleges that Streamlabs’ name has proven problematic for the brand. OBS says that customers and other companies have confused OBS and Streamlabs due to the “OBS” abbreviation that Streamlabs tacks on its name.
OBS also claims it was approached by Streamlabs when the service first launched and asked if it could use “OBS” in its name. OBS says it “kindly asked them not to,” but Streamlabs still used the name anyway. “We’ve tried to sort this out in private and they have been uncooperative at every turn,” OBS’s tweet says. OBS acknowledges that Streamlabs did everything right legally but instead “repeatedly disregarded the spirit of open source and of giving back.”
streamlabs better resolve this entire thread of issues or i’ll be asking them to take my face off the platform + look to use another donation service. https://t.co/jfJoxIvc0y— imane (@imane) November 17, 2021
Popular streamers quickly caught onto the drama. Pokimane, one of the most well-known personalities on Twitch, threatened to stop representing and using the platform if Streamlabs doesn’t resolve the issue.
Streamlabs later responded to the accusations in a tweet, stating that it will take immediate action to remove “OBS” from its product name. It also notes that “Streamlabs OBS is built on top of the OBS open-source platform” and that its own platform is also open-source. To me, this just seems like Streamlabs’ weak justification for using the name.
Streamlabs was likely faced with no choice but to change its name, especially when a Twitch streamer with over 8 million followers threatens to stop representing the service. The entire drama does make you wonder if Streamlabs intentionally put OBS in its name to attract people to its service. After all, basically everyone in the world of streaming knows OBS.