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"We're sorry": Twitch apologizes for DMCA controversy, issues guidelines to streamers

Image via Twitch/Twitter
Image via Twitch/Twitter
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Modified 13 Nov 2020, 08:56 IST
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Twitch has issued an apology and an explanation to streamers within a new DMCA related blog post on their site.

The post which is titled "Music-Related Copyright Claims and Twitch," essentially outlined the past, present, and the future of the DMCA situation at Twitch. This is the first time that Twitch has released such a detailed statement on the situation, and it certainly explains a lot about DMCA on the platform.

It's clear from the post that Twitch was not ready to handle the flood of flags from record labels, and after some catching up, they issued an apology.

"We could have developed more sophisticated, user-friendly tools awhile ago. That we didn’t is on us. And we could have provided creators with a longer time period to address their VOD and Clip libraries – that was a miss as well. We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better."

Twitch has been the wild west when it comes to recorded music use on the platform, and that quickly came to an end without any warning.


Why DMCA was so swift and substantial on Twitch

One of the more surprising parts of the post was the background numbers before the DMCA apocalypse began. According to Twitch, there fewer than 50 music-related DMCA claims on Twitch each year.

"How did we get to this moment? Until May of this year, streamers received fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year on Twitch." 

The platform added that beginning in May, representatives for the major record labels started sending thousands of DMCA notifications each week that targeted creators’ archives, mostly for snippets of tracks in years-old Clips. The company continues to receive large batches of notifications, and don’t expect that to slow down.

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Twitch claimed that it was just as surprised by the flood of DMCA claims as any of the streamers. Whether that's a good thing is up for debate, but the fact remains the same. No one saw it coming, and there was no preparation beyond providing an email and a mass delete button for streams three days in advance.

From the beginning of the flood of claims, which was in May, Twitch has analyzed where most of it was from. According to Twitch, 99% of the claims were for tracks that streamers were playing in the background of their streams. The claims can be issued for present uses of recorded music, as well as past uses in clips and VODs, which has caused bans across Twitch.

In order to give streamers some time and protection, Twitch has paused the processing of DMCA strikes. There still is a lack of tools for streamers to use for their VODs however, so that is essentially Twitch telling streamers they need to delete all DMCA-stricken content while they can.

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To follow up the post, Twitch provided some examples of DMCA free music that streamers can use, and they urged streamers to follow guidelines, like refraining from playing any recorded music.

Twitch also urged further education on DMCA laws so that streamers can be fully prepared themselves. It was clear, due to a lack of communication, that some streamers completely underestimated the scope of the situation.

Clearly, there is still far more for Twitch to do, but there is at least some transparency on the matter at this point in time.

Published 12 Nov 2020, 01:49 IST
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