Many Twitch streamers have found their archived streams deleted due to DMCA takedown requests. Usually, DMCA strikes can be counter-claimed, but Twitch isn’t giving that option this time.
Why Is Twitch Deleting Archived Streams?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed as law in 1998 in attempt to combat piracy. Part of the act allows parties to send DMCA strikes to those it believes are infringing copyright.
It’s a controversial act, not least because it has been used by companies in the past to strong-arm others to takedown content or discussions that they might not legally be obliged to do.
However, the DMCA does allow services like Twitch to host user-created content that might potentially infringe on copyright, but only providing that swift action is taken to remove it once a claim has been filed.
Normally, users have the right to respond to copyright strikes. That’s because these claims can often be overzealous, claiming content that actually doesn’t infringe on any copyright.
Services like YouTube are notorious for endless takedowns and that now seems to be happening on Twitch too. It’s very common for Twitch streamers to play music in the background when they’re live.
While Twitch does mute sections of archived streams if it automatically detects copyrighted music, the service is now going one step further and outright deleting the entire archive.
Rod Breslau, an eSports consultant, was one of the first to tweet about an email he had received from Twitch.
In the email, Twitch claims Breslau’s channel “was subject to one or more … DMCA takedown notifications, and that the content identified has been deleted”. The message goes on to acknowledge that while no chance has been given to file a counter-claim, this is only a warning and not a full copyright strike.
It’s an email many other streamers have received, and it was not just sent to those who are part of the Twitch partner program.
How Has Twitch Responded?
Twitch issued the following statement:
We are incredibly proud of the essential service Twitch has become for so many artists and songwriters, especially during this challenging time. It is crucial that we protect the rights of songwriters, artists and other music industry partners. We continue to develop tools and resources to further educate our creators and empower them with more control over their content while partnering with industry-recognized vendors in the copyright space to help us achieve these goals.
When Kotaku spoke to a Twitch spokesperson further, they confirmed that the company has received thousands of notifications from copyright holders.
It’s likely that Twitch doesn’t have the resource to handle all the complaints and that a blanket deletion was the quickest result to avoiding further fallout.
If you have been impacted by this, it doesn’t mean you can’t play any music on your stream. In fact, Twitch recently launched a new featured called “Soundtrack by Twitch” that aims to get round this exact problem.