Twitch released an official statement on their blog today in response to the fallout over the most recent surge of Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, takedowns.
“Creators, we hear you” the post began, as the website is often criticized for its lack of communication and transparency. “Things can–and should–be better for creators than they have been recently, and this post outlines our next steps to get there.”
In October, thousands of streamers across the platform were sent an email about a slew of possible copyright strikes on their channel, of which the content in question was outright deleted by Twitch. If the clips were live, as the majority of them were, the copyright strikes resulted in account suspensions and in some cases permabans. There was no prior notice for these actions.
Many streamers were also advised to simply delete their own content to prevent any further chances of copyright strikes. Many creators were furious and saddened to delete their years of content, just because of the slim chance of a copyright strike that Twitch seemed to have no control over.
DMCA, or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, protects online platforms such as Youtube or Twitter from copyright lawsuits, given that those platforms can act accordingly against any infringements that happen on their site. It was established in the U.S. in 1998 to prevent the outside distribution of any intellectual property which is protected by copyright.
This isn’t the first time DMCA has caused issues for Twitch and its creators. The recent influx of copyright strikes signal a boost in corporate oversight against the world of livestreaming. YouTube creators have experienced this for years. However, their platform allows them to issue what’s known as a “counter notice.” A counter notice can contest the copyright strike. Often, the content is restored on their channel. The question then becomes whether it is demonetized or not, giving creators more autonomy in the creative process. Twitch has no such countermeasures for their streamers, leaving them helpless to whatever might happen to their channel.
The Response From Twitch
Twitch, in today’s official response, said that they “analyzed the [DMCA] notifications we received,” from May to October, and found that “more than 99% of the notifications were for [music] tracks that streamers were playing in the background of their stream.”
They also recognized that their action caused a lot of confusion and anger in the past month, pointing out how “frustratingly little information we provided” and that “we should have made that warning email a lot more informative and helpful.” They also addressed the lack of tools at a streamer’s disposal (apart from the Mass Deletion tool for Clips) and how they gave streamers only a few days to act on their channel to prevent suspensions. “We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better.”
They finished their statement by discussing the tools they are providing content creators to prevent something like this from happening again. One is the recently published “Soundtrack,” a copyright-free music library added to the platform as an extension tool (which is currently on a waitlist before going platform-wide). They also detailed a more transparent process for issuing DMCA strikes, but have not yet implemented any sort of counter notices for streamers.
On November 18, Twitch will host the first of a four part series on Creator Camp, where they’ll discuss DMCA, copyright material, and their future for creators.
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