Twitch Responds to Angry Streamers after DMCA Takedowns in New Blog Post



In a world of free-form content creation on the internet, it was the Digital Millennium Copyright act that once laid waste to YouTube, and now that menace comes for Twitch.tv.

Over the past few weeks, dozens of content creators on twitch have had their videos flagged and even removed for "community guideline strikes".  The problem is, Nobody knew exactly what the guideline being violated was, until just a few days ago, when Twitch announced what it was. A recent tweet by the Twitch.tv Twitter account finally confirmed what we all suspected: Major music publishers are issuing DMCA takedown notices on any videos or streams containing copyrighted background music.


For some content creators on the world's largest live streaming platform, this meant temporary bans across large swaths of the userbase, including some of the top streamers on the website.

It wasn't long before Twitch users would get an e-mail from the Twitch representatives, referencing a long -and angry- blog post that functioned as a FAQ. This e-mail opens with the following paragraph:

Today, we published a blog post that addresses creators' questions and concerns about the recent uptick in DMCA takedowns from music rights holders. While this may not affect you directly, it's important that every creator understands what DMCA is, how to ensure your streams don't infringe on the work of others (and what to do if they may), and what changes we're making to help make navigating DMCA (and similar laws) easier for everyone.  Our full message is included below.
The e-mail itself contains the entire blog post from the Twitch.tv website, which opens with the following statement:

Creators, we hear you. Your frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified. Things can–and should–be better for creators than they have been recently, and this post outlines our next steps to get there. Moving forward, we’ll be more transparent with what’s happening and what tools and resources we’re building to help.

Copyright law and the DMCA are not small or simple topics, so this won’t be a brief post. We’ll do our best to keep the legalese to a minimum, though there’s bound to be technical terms here and there. 

The post is indeed long, and it is recommended that anyone who uses the platform read it in it's entirety here. Suffice to say, Twitch recommends that its users erase any videos containing any copyrighted music tracks.

The DMCA is a copyright protection law, designed to protect intellectual property owners from having their work stolen for profit by rival companies. Passed into law by congress in 1998, This law was originally intended to extend much of the same protections patent owners have from getting their ideas ripped off to copyright holders of music, art, and photography. However, there are very few instances of the DMCA being used the way it was intended. Most of the time, the DMCA has been used as a means of censorship, or a way for companies to use platforms like YouTube to rob small content creators of their ad revenue, via YouTube's severely broken copyright claim system.

There is a clause in the DMCA law known as the "fair use doctrine", stating that anyone who uses copyrighted content for the purposes of general education (I.E. teaching someone how to play a song) or in a "transformative" way, (I.E. heavily edited and modified,) would be exempt from lawsuits or restrictions under the DMCA law. However, the fair use clause does very little in practice when a major corporation wants to bully a smaller content creator, since major music and film companies like Warner Music group and Sony Pictures have a ton of money, and at least 5 -or 10- lawyers ready to fuck your shit up.

Twitch streamers were hit particularly hard by this recent DMCA attack since it involved the music featured as the ambient background of almost every Twitch stream ever made. It's no secret that the overwhelming majority of songs featured within any given stream is a collage of full-length copyrighted songs, often owned by some of the largest music publishers in the world, so it was only a matter of time before twitch users would suffer a similar fate to YouTubers with similar content.

It seems like the best option for Twitch streamers now is to feature as many royalty free background music as possible to avoid DMCA takedowns. 
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