Twitch warns creators about a wave of DMCA takedown requests

Big changes are coming to Twitch. And the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform doesn’t have a choice.

According to Twitch, the company recently received a massive batch of DMCA takedown requests “with about 1,000 individual claims from music publishers.”

Just got an email about a DMCA takedowns from twitch and apparently the music publishing companys are scanning old VODS and claiming a LOT of stuff from other channels

— RATPARTY (@ratparty_) May 28, 2021

Twitch sent an “important update” via email to its users late Thursday night to warn them about the situation.

The company says that all of the DMCA takedown requests involved video-on-demand content, streams that are saved to the platform to be replayed after the live broadcast. Twitch says that most of the takedown requests target streamers who listen to copyrighted music in the background of their videos while they’re streaming.

Video game streaming is extremely popular on the platform. Streamers often listen to music while gaming, many without consideration for whether the music they’re playing will result in copyright issues.

A screenshot of the Twitch email introduction.

A screenshot of the Twitch email introduction.

Image: screenshot: Twitch

“Based on the number of claims, we believe these rights holders used automated tools to scan and identify copyrighted music in creators’ VODs and Clips, which means that they will likely send further notices,” Twitch explained in the email blast. “We are actively speaking with music labels about solutions that could work for creators as well as rights holders.”

The email includes tips from Twitch on how users can protect their channel. For example: Don’t use copyrighted material in your livestreams.

A DMCA takedown on Twitch can result in a 30-day suspension from the platform. Streamers can be outright banned from the platform for multiple violations.

Some Twitch streamers have shared details of their DMCA takedown notices on Twitter.

Just got a DMCA strike on a vod over Boulevard of Broken dreams playing on a video from March 2019 that nobody except grubby music corporations can access. If they can go in and see it I should be able to as well this system is abysmal @Twitch@TwitchSupport

— Sneepsnuck (@Sneegsnag) May 28, 2021

Twitch streamer Sneegsnag, who has nearly 300,000 followers on the platform, said they just received a DMCA takedown notice for a video from 2019, which isn’t even available for public view on Twitch anymore. In fact, the creator doesn’t even have access to the video anymore.

On Twitch, VOD for streamers are available for a maximum of 60 days unless they are specifically clipped to archive.

Others shared similar DMCA takedown notices on content no longer viewable by the public.

i’ve just been dmca’d for a vod i deleted 2 months ago.

when i rebranded my channel, all clips and vods of old streams were wiped – yet i am still being withheld payout money for 3 seconds of a sampled clip of “plastic love” that is never tagged dmca in other streams

i am mad.

— BEE!! #clappytwt (@clappybee) May 28, 2021

Twitch claims this is the “first such contact from the music publishing industry” and voiced its disappointment with the takedown requests.

However, copyright issues have long plagued Twitch.

Whereas YouTube is known for its stringent content ID system that searches out material for copyright holders to claim without having to file takedowns, Twitch has often been seen as a wild west for those looking to skirt copyright issues.

For example, the UFC has long-faced issues with unauthorized streamers broadcasting its live pay-per-view events to users for free on the platform.

Twitch has rolled out stricter copyright policy in recent years. WWE pro wrestler and Twitch streamer Paige was recently banned from the platform for broadcasting the movie Dumb & Dumber to her followers. In one hilarious instance, Twitch’s copyright policy blocked the audio from a performance from Metallica that was airing on Twitch’s own official company page.

It’s unclear at this point what terms Twitch can strike with the music industry to solve this issue. Perhaps, they will roll out a system similar to YouTube’s where copyright holders get paid for videos using their content.

One thing that is clear though: The old anything goes days of Twitch are coming closer and closer to an end.