If you are a streamer on Twitch, then heads up; many streamers, big and small, are being hit by a wave of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests from music labels. These takedowns are not just for recent streams but also seem to be for clips going all the way back to 2017.
After many people took to social media and Reddit to complain about these DMCA takedowns, Twitch shared through their Twitter that they are working on making it easier for people to take down clips from the past.
📢 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
Twitch further explains;
This is the first time we have received mass DMCA claims against clips. We understand this has been stressful for affected creators and are working on solutions, including examining how we can give you more control over your clips.
Many people are currently upset with the situation, as a lot of people earn their income through Twitch. If you get hit by three strikes on your channel (by not adhering to the rules), you receive a permanent ban and thus, poof goes your income. The DMCA takedowns are now causing many people to get hit multiple times instantly, for clips that go back to 2017. The solution? Weed through your clips and take down all of those that contain music.
Despite the complaints, many people blame Twitch for not helping out and giving in to the DMCA. The catch, however, is that Twitch has not changed its policy concerning music on its platform (which you can read through right here). The TL;DR version of the story is that you cannot stream music that you aren't licensed for. Some specific examples, as seen on the page, include;
- Radio-Style Music Listening Show – A Twitch stream or VOD which focuses on playing music that is not owned by you and is not licensed for you to share on Twitch.
- DJ Set – Playing and/or mixing pre-recorded music tracks which incorporate music, other than music which is owned by you or music which is licensed for you to share on Twitch.
- Karaoke Performance – Singing or performing to a karaoke recording other than an in-game karaoke performance that is licensed for you to share on Twitch, such as a Twitch Sings Performance.
- Lip Synch Performance – Pantomiming, singing, or pretending to sing to music that is not owned by you or is not licensed for you to share on Twitch.
- Visual Music Depiction – Lyrics, music notation, tablature, or any other visual representation of copyrighted music other than music owned by you or music which is licensed for you to share on Twitch, or on-screen lyrics or depictions of music provided by Twitch as part of Twitch Sings gameplay and captured in streams or VODs of your Twitch Sings Performances.
- Cover Song Performance – Performance of a song owned by someone else, with the exception of a live performance in your Twitch stream. If you do perform a cover song in a live Twitch stream, please make a good faith effort to perform the song as written by the songwriter, and create all audio elements yourself, without incorporating instrumental tracks, music recordings, or any other recorded elements owned by others.
So how is it that people are getting hit all of a sudden with all these takedowns? With the COVID-crisis all over the world, many artists took their skills onto digital platforms and have started playing Dj sets and more on there. The companies who own the music took notice and thus the takedowns started. For those who wonder why these clips aren't getting muted, just like VOD's (Videos on Demand); that technology is only active on Videos on Demand. Clips are usually too short and don't get muted. Clips that were made during the stream or before the VOD got muted are now eligible for a takedown.
To add on top of the current situation, it turns out that Universal Music Group and Warner both have invested in a company that monitors every stream on Twitch with the potential option to issue a live DMCA; meaning they can send a strike onto your stream when you are actually streaming live. At this point, they have not used that yet and we can only hope that they do not issue these in the nearby future either.
BOMBSHELL!— Zach Bussey (@zachbussey) June 8, 2020
Most streams on Twitch are being monitored by the music industry LIVE - and the ability to do live DMCA's is there, they just haven't done it yet! I had no idea!#TwitchNews pic.twitter.com/cnnv8UJIP5
Some other issues include playing games that have their own music on, with a clear nod at rhythm games. While a lot of takedowns are happening at this moment, people might question whether it's time to revise the set of rules concerning DMCA and live streams on Twitch (and other platforms), so that the people who turned it into a job (and are hoping to do so in the nearby future) still can continue doing what they love without the fear of getting hit by a tiny amount of strikes and potentially lose everything in no time.