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Twitch streamers could face jail time over DMCA, thanks to a US Senator

US Senator Thom Tillis wants to turn unauthorized commercial streaming of copyrighted material into a felony offense with a prison sentence (Image via Twitch)
US Senator Thom Tillis wants to turn unauthorized commercial streaming of copyrighted material into a felony offense with a prison sentence (Image via Twitch)
ANALYST

The DMCA is back, and US Senator Thom Tillis has proposed a bill that could potentially give influencers and content creators jail time over copyright offenses.

This year has been a bad year for Twitch when it comes to the DMCA, and music companies have continued to crack down on music used on the platform.

While the situation continues to unfold, one senator in the US Congress has thrown himself into the fold. Thom Tillis, a Republican Senator for North Carolina, has proposed a new punishment for anyone infringing on copyright online. The proposal would mean potential jail time for anyone using copyrighted music on Twitch streams, YouTube videos, or Instagram stories.


A proposed bill for jail time towards Twitch streamers and YouTube creators for DMCA

Music copyright in the United States has always been a misdemeanor offense, which means lawsuits and fines can be issued, but there is no threat of jail time in the average case.

Thom Tillis' bill would make streaming copyrighted music a felony crime, which would translate to genuine jail time in cases where that applies.

The potential bill would have a lot of bad implications for the content and gaming world. A threat of jail time has never been in the sphere of content creation before, and at a time when tensions are already so high on Twitch, it would further aggravate the situation.

YouTube would also certainly face a new DMCA issue this time around, rather than Twitch being the only platform in trouble yet again. All content would face some form of suppression in order to avoid jail time.

The good news is that the bill is not guaranteed and would have to go through a long process before becoming law in the United States. So far, it's only been proposed, and it's likely that the bill will never genuinely pass through Congress. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible.

Twitch has been in a DMCA storm since around May of 2020. The situation gained notoriety when streamers were forced to delete all VODs within three days or face copyright strikes.

Since then, most streamers have deleted their content and avoided playing music on their streams, which has saved them from further DMCA warnings for the most part.

Some streamers attempted to resist and keep their VODs up, like Nickmercs, but they ultimately needed to comply or face a permanent ban on the platform.

DMCA problems continue to be a part of streaming on Twitch, and it may be some time before a true conclusion is reached for the platform.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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