Twitch has been going through some major music copyright drama over the last few months, being hit with an onslaught of DMCA takedown notifications. In October, this culminated in the streaming platform straight up deleting streamers' clips and videos that had used copyrighted music without permission. Twitch didn't even warn the streamers affected beforehand, only letting them know after with a pretty generic email.
In a blog post published yesterday, Twitch apologised for the way they've been handling the situation, and explained plans to develop tools for streamers to better deal with copyright claims in the future.
Since May this year, Twitch say they've been receiving thousands of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notifications every week - up from just 50 a year.
"We continue to receive large batches of notifications, and we don’t expect that to slow down.
"This means two things: 1) if you play recorded music on your stream, you need to stop doing that and 2) if you haven’t already, you should review your historical VODs and clips that may have music in them and delete any archives that might."
This is something Twitch have been saying for a while, but a large part of the problem when this all kicked off was that there were no simple ways for streamers to review and delete videos. In June, Twitch's solution was giving streamers an option to mass-delete all their clips. As you can probably imagine, that sucked for a lot of streamers who've been using the platform for years, who faced losing all their history.
Twitch have apologised for this now, however, and say they're working on tools to help streamers better understand and deal with any copyright infringement claims that come their way.
"One of the mistakes we made was not building adequate tools to allow creators to manage their own VOD and clip libraries. You’re rightly upset that the only option we provided was a mass deletion tool for clips, and that we only gave you three-days notice to use this tool.
"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."
It's good that Twitch is owning up to their mistakes, and trying to put them right. But for some streamers, this is too little too late. Big names like "Fuslie", "Pokimane" and "timthetatman" are among those who've already had to delete years of content.
In the meantime, to avoid any DMCA notifications on your own channel, Twitch are really emphasising that you shouldn't be playing recorded music in your stream. Unless it's your own, or you know it's copyright free, it's best to steer clear for now.
And if you want to brush up on how copyright infringement claims work on Twitch, they've put together an FAQ to help.