Over the last couple of months, DMCA and its implementation on Twitch has been one of the biggest issues facing streamers on the platform.
It all started in May of this year when a sudden influx of DMCA strikes began reaching content creators, something they weren't prepared for and didn't have the proper tools to deal with.
Streamers were getting copyright strikes for VODs and clips from years in the past.
Some were getting banned without being informed or warned prior to the ban, and many simply didn't get an explanation of what material earned them the three DMCA strikes necessary to have their account permanently suspended.
Rocket League's Squishymuffinz was one streamer who was temporary banned due to DMCA. (Picture: Psyonix)
Fearing strikes and bans, many were forced to delete their entire streaming histories, even though evidence suggests that clips are being stored on Twitch servers, and subject to DMCA strikes, long after they have been "deleted" from their channels.
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. The next few tweets will outline our plan for being better partners to creators. https://t.co/Ebk1rFlBOMpic.twitter.com/fiFitaZgD5— Twitch (@Twitch) November 11, 2020
In a lengthy blog post, Twitch explains they were surprised by the "sudden avalanche of notifications as many of you were."
Apparently, before all of this has started, streamers received fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year on Twitch.
But the situation became drastically different in May 2020, when record labels started sending "thousands of DMCA notifications each week," which were targeting creators’ archives, particularly their clips, something they haven't done before, and that's what started the resulting chaos.
The increased volume of DMCA notifications is not going to stop, Twitch says, and that's why they urge content creators to "stay educated" and learn about copyrights in order to stay out of trouble.
On the topic of how to avoid DMCA notifications, they are being very clear: "Don’t play recorded music in your stream unless you own all rights in the music."
In regards to games with licensed music, Twitch advises creators to read End User License Agreements(EULA) of the games they plan to live stream and to find out if streaming in-game music is allowed.
If it is not or they are not sure, they should use an option to turn off the music in games.
On their part, they promise to do better and better explain their next steps.
They confirmed they are working on tools that will give creators more control over their recorded content, most importantly better tools to manage and search their VODs and clips, in order to avoid a situation where a streamer has to delete everything in fear of a strike.
They are also working on improving the technology which detects copyrighted audio, which will make it easier for creators to control what audio from live streams will show up in recorded content.
Twitch is also aware that their communication regarding DMCA notifications is not perfect and they are working on a system that will provide more detail about copyright strikes, including things like what copyrighted work was allegedly infringed, who the claimant is, and how streamers can contact them.
Finally, they mentioned the topic of Twitch potentially having "a license covering any and all uses of recorded music," something they are exploring as an option, but ultimately they think that simply doesn't suit the needs of Twitch content creators.
"The current constructs for licenses that the record labels have with other services make less sense for Twitch. The vast majority of our creators don’t have recorded music as a part of their streams, and the revenue implications to creators of such a deal are substantial."
Starting from the 18th of November, Twitch is planning to host the first of four additional Creator Camp live sessions which will give streamers more information to better navigate the world of copyright and streaming.