Twitch streamers who play music while the stream are once again receiving DMCA takedown notices from the platform though it appears to be a bit more aggressive this time around.
We say this because according to information shared by esports consultant and gaming insider, Rod Breslau, streamers aren’t being given the option to archive content or file counterclaims.
“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,” reads a notice sent to streamers.
“We recognize (sic) that by deleting this this content, we are not giving you the option to file a counter-notification or seek a retraction from the rights holder. In consideration of this, we have processed these notifications and are issuing you a one-time warning to give you the chance to learn about copyright law and the tools available to manage content on your own channel,” said Twitch.
That last bit is rather aggressive though if we’re honest, we understand why.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows a copyright holder to control how their content is used online. This prevents folks from using Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP to create content that the original artist wouldn’t be paid for.
But things get messier when we add fair use laws into the mix.
Fair use laws might allow (they differ from country to country) a content creator to transform an existing piece of art into something new. We’re summarising here, but both the DMCA and fair use laws are hugely complex pieces of legal prose.
In the case of Twitch, it seems as if it received a mountain of DMCA takedown notices and was forced to act quickly. This is because, as The Verge points out, platforms can avoid being sued by copyright owners if they take prompt action to remove of block access to the offending content.
“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,” a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge.
Now, one could argue that Twitch should fight for its creators, and push back against greedy record companies just trying to squeeze every cent they can out of platforms like Twitch. But it’s not that simple and that argument also fails to recognise that musicians should get paid as well.
As one of Hypertext’s favourite YouTube creators pointed out earlier this year, copyright systems are broken and don’t allow for things like streamers playing music in the background.
If you have a few minutes (well 43 minutes to be exact) and you want to learn more about how copyright claims work, the video below is a great start.
Perhaps give it a watch before you hit shuffle on Spotify during your next stream.