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Twitch is cracking down on copyrighted music with a new batch of DMCA takedowns

Where were you during the Twitch DCMA purge of 2020?

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Image: KnowTechie

After years of inaction, Twitch is finally cracking down on copyrighted music on the platform. On Tuesday of this week, many streamers received emails from the livestreaming site that informed them that stored clips or videos in their history had infringing content and that all of those clips had been deleted. Going forward, it seems that Twitch will be policing copyrighted content more closely, as it perhaps should have done from the start.

Basically, it seems that Twitch was terribly backlogged in responding to DCMA takedowns from music rights holders. That’s not on the streamers, but a failure of Twitch to do their job under the DCMA system. All existing videos and clips that had infringing material were going to be wiped, making the slate clean.

Still, the outrage from streamers large and small was immediate. Wouldn’t you be angry if the product of your life’s work, your livelihood, was wiped clean as if it never happened? It’s not just on Twitch to enforce the laws, surely the livestreaming site has some responsibility to educate the users on its platform, without whom the platform would disappear.

It’s clear that the existing DCMA takedown system is broken. While I agree that streamers shouldn’t be using copyrighted music as background music on-stream, there are legitimate uses of copyrighted material that the system can’t differentiate between. The system can’t tell if you’re streaming music from the internet, or if you’re playing a video game with licensed music inside it. Some developers let you turn off copyrighted music in the settings, but that’s only a few titles out of hundreds.

Twitch even had its own karaoke service, Twitch Sings, with a selection of licensed music on offer. All of that is now going away, with Twitch giving some platitudes about “investing in broader tools and services… …for the entire music community.” Even videos, clips, and highlights are being removed, starting on December 1. What happens to the recordings of people who got followings through karaoke? Sounds to me like they didn’t want to deal with licensing issues, so they axed it in favor of singer/songwriters that use the platform for discovery. What happens when those songwriters find other people distributing their music through Twitch? Will they take action? Where will it end?

If you’re a Twitch streamer that can’t live without music on your stream, check out Soundtrack by Twitch, or Monstercat, or any of the other royalty-free services that you can get music from.

What do you think? How do you feel about Twitch taking action against streamers using copyrighted music? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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