If you’ve been streaming on Twitch for a while, chances are you could be receiving a DMCA claim if you’ve played copyrighted music over the past three years.
If you’re a streamer, not many things are scarier than the four letters of the apocalypse – DMCA. And now, Twitch is claiming that it’s being hit with a “sudden influx” of DMCA takedown requests, specifically for clips from up to three years ago.
Let’s get into specifics for a second. DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a bill signed into law in the U.S in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. In essence, it’s not just a copyright law, it’s the copyright law for the internet. According to the DMCA website, the purpose of the bill is to address “the rights and obligations of owners of copyrighted material who believe their rights under U.S. copyright law have been infringed, particularly but not limited to, on the Internet.” It’s why anyone that goes on YouTube is used to seeing videos get taken down for using copyrighted music.
? This week, we’ve had a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19. If you’re unsure about rights to audio in past streams, we advise removing those clips. We know many of you have large archives, and we’re working to make this easier.
— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) June 8, 2020
Naturally though, claiming copyrighted music doesn’t stop at YouTube. Twitch streamers often use music as background noise, or to hype up events. And while some specifically seek out non-copyrighted music, many others have not taken such precautions. The result is a mass amount of takedowns on channels. The worst part for streamers, however, is that Twitch abides by the “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Meaning if you’re a streamer that’s unsure if you have three or more clips that potentially contain copyrighted music, it would be safer to go through everything and delete your clips. The risk otherwise is the possibility of losing your channel entirely.
According to Tweets from Twitch Support, this is the first time the platform “has received mass DMCA claims against clips.” Currently, Twitch is working on ways to give creators more control over their clips, likely to prevent another mass filing of DMCA claims in the future.
It’s also important to note that Twitch’s adherence to DMCA laws has not changed. Streamers can still use music that they own or license, and play any music they want if they’re playing Twitch Sings as long as it abides by Twitch’s Terms of Service. It hasn’t been made clear if DMCA claims will extend to more recent clips, although copyright holders would be well within their legal rights to file claims. It would still be bad news for the platform’s recent streamers, including those streaming Valorant, which set records on Twitch last month.