Twitch Offers a Response Concerning Music-Related DMCA Claims
A new blog dropped from Twitch with a response to all the troubles with the DMCA claims hitting the website. If you’re hoping for a brilliant blog that solves the problems streamers are having right now, you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s a long one, so you can read the full thing right here. We understand that it’s a tense issue, and it’s not something easily discussed or fixed. But we also know that Twitch has two major responsibilities:
- Protect themselves
- Protect the talent (streamers)
Only one of those is happening right now: Twitch is covering themselves. Is it possible to do something to protect the streamers from these DMCA claims that are hammering so many? It’s possible, but it’s again, not easy.
The long and short of this DMCA takedown response by Twitch is that they say “We’re sorry”. That’s all we really get out of this. No solutions to problems, not any real solutions anyway. Twitch assures streamers that they are working on solutions to be “better partners to creators” but what can we do right now? Very little. The DMCA (Digital Media Copyright Act) is a way of preventing people from making money off of digital media that they do not own a license for. That’s fine.
This didn’t really seem to be an issue until this year though. Occasionally a DMCA claim would hit, and Twitch would have to deal with it. But in May 2020, the music industry struck back and started sending “thousands of DMCA notifications each week,” aimed at streamers and content creators at large.
There are streamers that could permanently lose their livelihood over having background music. Sure, if it’s not the music they legally are allowed to stream, that is against the law. However, as other platforms like YouTube have proven, there’s always a solution in these situations and unfortunately, Twitch hasn’t been providing many at this time.
What Can We Do?
How can we avoid getting banned as streamers? It’s sadly very simple. The first is Don’t play recorded music in the background of your streams. Not ever. Even if you own the music, or are the musician playing it, it’s better to just not. No sense in getting banned over it. The second is to go back through all of your clips, VODs, your whole stream history, and delete any clip that might have recorded music in the background.
Twitch understands that their system of dealing with this sort of thing is not up to par. They are reportedly focusing on improvements in tools to help creators, like a Mass Deletion tool. Twitch is reportedly working on three areas, though some of this won’t be visible to streamers.
“First, you don’t have enough control over the recorded content on your channel. We have made improvements to enable you to mass delete Clips, but in addition, we will (1) expand the use of technology to detect copyrighted audio, and (2) give you more granular ways to manage your archive instead of just a “delete all” option.
“Second, we’ll make it easier for you to control what audio from your live streams will show up in your recorded content. Soundtrack by Twitch has some of this technology built into it, and we’ll work to make it available for everyone regardless of whether you want to use Soundtrack, for which we’ve cleared all necessary rights, or music from others that provide rights-cleared music.
“Third, we need to give you the ability to actually review your allegedly infringing content when you receive a DMCA notification, in addition to the details already provided in our takedown notifications – that is, information about what copyrighted work was allegedly infringed, who the claimant is, and how the claimant can be contacted. We also need to help you more easily file counter notifications if you believe you have the rights to use the content–for example, because you’ve secured a license, believe the use is a fair use, the claimant does not control the rights, or believe you have the right to use the music without permission.”
This is a really unfortunate situation that’s going on. It’s taken many of us by surprise, and the best approach is to try to be as safe as possible. Don’t play music in the background, even if you own it. After Hermann Li of Dragonforce was banned for playing music he created as a part of Dragonforce, all bets were off. You’re just better off being safe, rather than sorry. Twitch is obligated to protect and help the people that make them the mountains of money they hoard, but that never happened. It’s a system that should have been in place years ago, but since the DMCA wasn’t targeting Twitch, it was never a priority. That time is now. What will Twitch do to help streamers in dealing with DMCA claims going forward from this response? We’ll have to keep our eyes open and see.
All we can do as streamers is do our best to be safe and not get caught out by copyright claims.