Twitch’s music copyright infringement problem on its platform has brought on a lot of frustration from users lately.
According to Polygon, the streaming platform recently informed its users that it has gone forth and deleted all content violating music copyright laws after receiving “a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests” back in June.
It is INSANE that @Twitch informs partners they deleted their content – and that there is more content in violation despite having NO identification system to find out what it is. Their solution to DMCA is for creators to delete their life's work. This is pure, gross negligence. pic.twitter.com/mhdXU5lEc5
— Devin (@DevinNash) October 20, 2020
📢 This week, we've had a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19. If you’re unsure about rights to audio in past streams, we advise removing those clips. We know many of you have large archives, and we're working to make this easier.
— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) June 8, 2020
According to The Verge, the DMCA — which is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — allows platforms like Twitch to host user-generated content under a safe harbor.
This means websites are protected from being sued if they take prompt actions to remove or block access to copyright-infringing material after receiving a notice of an infringement claim from a copyright holder or a holder’s agent.
The Verge shares that Twitch has previously told streamers that some of their content has been identified as violating copyright. However, instead of allowing streamers to archive their content or submit counterclaims, it’s simply deleting their content.
This also poses an issue because without providing streamers information on how to trace what content is in violation of DMCA rules, many are forced to manually scan and delete their own content from very large archives.
The Verge also reports that in the same breath, the platform is telling users it’s giving them warnings, as opposed to outright copyright strikes – contradicting its previous statement.
Twitch went from <1 DMCA notice per week to thousands in May. They sat on them for 5 months before releasing en masse, giving creators 3 days to scan, archive, and delete up to 9 years of streams with no way to identify infringing content. Then took 3 weeks to write a blog post: https://t.co/XtkxSD4r0D
— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) November 11, 2020
Similar to how music copyright infringement is flagged on other social platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, Twitch creators now have to deal with the same headache as the platform cracks down on its policies.
In response to the uproar from users, a Twitch spokesperson provided this statement to Polygon:
“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.”
While Twitch’s platform does offer tools for users to download clips individually and mass delete, it does nothing that allows users to easily archive the entirety of their work.
Twitch founder Justin Ignacio, who is no longer with the company, took to Twitter to share a few third-party tools to help speed up the process for creators.