Copyright strikes have always been an occupational hazard for many Twitch streamers and content creators, but a recent surge of DMCA takedown requests has overwhelmed the community. Now, Twitch support staff has responded to complaints, stating that the claims are focused on clips with background music from 2017 to 2019, and recommending that streamers remove them. The tweets also state that this is the first time that Twitch has received mass DMCA claims against clips.
It starts with clips and screen recording off our phones, basically highlights from a larger live stream that have usually been cut out by a fan (us) and saved to the streamer’s page. Twitch already scans the archive of a fully completed stream for copyrighted audio, and it mutes the stream in 30-minute chunks to wipe out anything that might be found. But that scanning technology wasn’t used on clips, which meant that streamers may have had years of clips with copyrighted music in them that had gone unnoticed.
The scanning is done in partnership with Audible Magic, a company that works with rights holders like Universal Music Group, Disney, and Warner Music Group, among others, to scan platforms for copyrighted content. Audible Magic has powered Twitch’s archive scanning since 2014, and now Twitch says it’s expanding that partnership to focus on clips. Older clips are being scanned first, and “over the coming months,” it’ll expand to new clips as well.
As part of its response to the wave of takedown requests, Twitch also plans to build a feature allowing streamers to delete all of the clips on their channel. Twitch hasn’t announced a way to appeal automated clip deletions just yet, but it does have a process in place to appeal audio being muted as a result of Audible Magic’s scanning, so it’s likely there will be one eventually.
Streamers might play music during their broadcasts for a number of reasons; DJ sets are popular, or a streamer might play music in the background. There might also be music inside a game being played, which would be a trickier situation for streamers to avoid. YouTubers have dealt with takedowns over copyrighted music for years, often to great frustration.
Twitch’s copyright policy has been loosely enforced for years but now with increased attention on the platform, streamers are being faced with possible account terminations.
The Recording Industry Association America (RIAA), is the chief complainant for a majority of the cases. However, the songs are from numerous major label artists.
Streamers must delete all their clips containing music they haven’t created, don’t own or have permission for. For some, that might mean a catalogue of past streams.