Updated: Read the follow up comment from WWE here
Edit: There is now a photo floating around social media where Stephanie McMahon’s WWE Contract has been posted. In it, we can clearly see that WWE does actually force talent to give them the rights to their legal names while under contract (Click for full-size image):
In a somewhat stunning announcement from Vince McMahon today, WWE talent are now barred from engaging with certain social media platforms using their WWE copyrighted/trademarked names. Among those listed, this includes Twitch, Cameo, FansOnly, and other outlets. This move is being done because Vince feels that it is causing issues and problems within the company when problems arise.
“Furthering my comments last Sunday regarding the reinvention of our product, it is imperative that we promote and protect our brand in every conceivable way. Some of you are engaged with outside 3rd parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company. It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days (by Friday October 2). Continued violations will result in fines, suspension or termination at WWE’s discretion. These actions are necessary in order to rebuild our brand as we enter the next phase of growth at WWE.
I thank you for your cooperation in this matter and for all of your efforts towards the rejuvenation of WWE.
Other outlets are reporting that talent are prohibited from appearing on and/or using other outlets at all, including YouTube, and that is NOT at all correct and/or true. The new rule simply means that a talent may not appear on another media outlet using the name that is owned by WWE without prior consent and authorization from WWE. Vince also simply does not want them appearing in-character without permission.
Jason’s Jest: This is being completely blown way out of proportion by many outlets. What WWE is doing is protecting their name and product. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them saying that Michael Hickenbottom cannot appear on Twitch using Shawn Michaels, as they own the rights to that name and character. I’m an Independent Contractor myself and what Vince is doing is 100% legal and well within the rights of the company to protect them.