An ethical and logicistical can of worms was well and truly opened today when it was revealed that Twitch never permanently deletes clips or VODs from their servers - and whats more they can be accessed if you know the URL address.
The discovery was made by Devin Nash, a popular Twitch streamer who is one of the foremost voices when it comes to discussing the industry and business of streaming and content creation, especially in relation to Twitch.
Streamers are STILL being DMCA'd for clips/VODs they deleted. Why? They're still on Twitch's server even if you deleted them. Below are my deleted clips. Yet here's one they stored from 2016: https://t.co/MWIK9xC0hT We deleted our entire legacy and Twitch still didn't protect us. pic.twitter.com/pXUmFXwTPL— Devin (@DevinNash) November 6, 2020
The issue came to light due to the current furore around the application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) on Twitch.
In the last few weeks streamers, big and small, have been deleting their VODs and clips as they attempt to stay on the right side of DMCA. Twitch's enforcement of DMCA in that time has racheted up and past broadcasts have been seen to be fair game.
Now with Devin Nash's discovery it emerges that deleting the clips and VODs may do nothing to stop potential strikes as the information still lives on Twitch's servers.
"They're still on Twitch's server even if you deleted them," claimed Nash on Twitter.
Posting a picture of his Twitch clip library being empty he continues:
"Yet here's one they stored from 2016: We deleted our entire legacy and Twitch still didn't protect us," he lamented.
One streamer who has found his "deleted" VODs earning a strike is Tom "Syndicate" Cassell, a popular British content creator, who revealed that a VOD deleted six months ago was hit with a DMCA strike.
I understand @Twitch has to handle the whole DMCA stuff but.. this content hasn't existed for over 6 months on my channel so I'm not sure how they're handing out strikes for them.— Tom (@Syndicate) November 6, 2020
(To clarify there was no VOD's or Clips on my channel even BEFORE the DMCA warnings arrived 🤷♂️) pic.twitter.com/go3OMnFoSZ
The discovery that VODs and clips are never truly deleted has resulted in some rather ironic finds with clips emerging from banned streamers such as Herschel "Dr Disrespect" Beahm IV's infamous stream from E3 2019 where he was filmed walking around a bathroom, to Ryan "Cryaotic" Terry who was banned in September after allegations of impropriety with underage girls.
There are also legal and ethical questions to be asked around what right Twitch has to store these clips indefinately.
In Europe the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out the rights people in regards to their data and the parameters and provisions that must be met on how businesses, governments, official bodies, etc store such retain such information.
The US doesn't have a similar law at federal level but Calfornia introduced a regulation framework based of DRPR called the Califnornia Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
The fact that anyone can access these clips and VODs, even when "deleted", and there is no easy way to permanently delete may be a breach of these acts.