Twitch is taking aggressive action when it comes to streamers and clips. Not when it comes to dealing with toxicity or making Twitch a safer platform to stream on, but when it comes to potential copyright violations.
Twitch is cracking down on streamers in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The streaming platform sent out emails to hundreds of streamers stating that they were in violation of the DMCA and had their infringing content deleted as a result. This is meant to serve as an official warning for streamers to learn how the DMCA works and to conform to its requirements.
“We are writing to inform you that your channel was subject to one or more of these DMCA takedown notifications and that the content identified has been deleted…in consideration of this, we…are issuing you a one-time warning to give you the chance to learn about copyright law and the tools available to manage the content on your channel,” the email reads.
the Twitch DMCA bloodbath has begun, as hundreds of partnered streamers have received emails from Twitch as DMCA takedown notifications pic.twitter.com/zoIoI7Q7Xp
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 20, 2020
The DMCA notices likely revolve around streamers playing music while they stream, though Twitch did not even explicitly state whether this is the case.
The announcement has plunged the streaming community into chaos due to the lack of direction offered by Twitch. Some streamers have seen a significant portion of their life’s work disappear overnight, and it’s unclear what all might put a streamer in violation of the DMCA.
Rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and Beat Saber routinely use licensed music, while others such as Grand Theft Auto and most EA Sports-produced titles have soundtracks that could infringe on the DMCA.
If this DMCA is serious as @Twitch is making it out to be, then they need to provide a list of games we can stream. All games have music and we can’t tell if they’re eligible or against their policy.
— Alex Valle ➡️⬇️↘️+🏡 (@TheAlexValle) October 20, 2020
Many have criticized the DMCA as anachronistic, as the law was penned in 1998 and predates streaming video content of any kind. This is difficult for streamers to navigate, and Twitch’s inability or unwillingness to offer any sort of guidance is only making matters worse.
This does not come as a surprise, either. Earlier this year, Twitch announced that it had received a number of DMCA claims for clips and videos from 2017 to 2019. Twitch previously stated that it was planning to give streamers more control over their clips, but those efforts have not yet come to pass.