Twitch’s DMCA Situation Is Still Causing Issues For Streamers

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In the midst of another wave of DMCA takedown notices, Twitch recently advised streamers to delete their entire archives of clips or VOD if they couldn’t be sure it didn’t contain copyrighted material. Now, one streamer has shown how difficult that task can be, with increasingly unrealistic copyright claims.

Twitch has had ongoing issues with DMCA this year, with its most recent wave of takedowns seeing the streaming platform sending a one-size-fits-all warning to streamers who had hosted infringing content. Twitch has since returned to sending out regular copyright notices, though they still aren’t helpful for streamers who want a long-term solution.

The issue has been illustrated by streamer Jake’n’Bake, who received a copyright notice over a snippet of a Kanye song appearing in a video from an IRL stream from 2018. As he points out, he never played the song himself, but likely walked past a business or person playing it.

The fact that this song snippet had been picked up illustrates streamers’ problems with the current DMCA situation–even when they go to lengths to avoid copyrighted content, it often still crops up when its least expected.

To make things even more difficult, streamers have almost no option to legally play music if they want to. The process of licensing music isn’t accessible to the average streamer, and as Jake’n’Bake points outs, copyright holders aren’t interested in replying to or communicating with streamers who have, or want to, use their music.

Last week, Twitch Partner Herman Li was banned from the platform, with some alleging that it was due to copyright issues over him playing music from his own band, DragonForce. Neither Li nor Twitch ever officially confirmed why the ban occurred, however, and Li’s account has now been reinstated.

While Facebook has struck a deal with a number of major music companies to license their music for its streamers, so far Twitch hasn’t announced anything similar beyond Twitch Soundtrack, which provides music streamers can play in the background of live streams (but not saved videos). It’s also been facing criticism from the music industry, which is putting increased pressure on the streaming giant.

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