Twitch has been hit with "thousands" of DMCA infringement notifications over copyrighted music used in video, making this is the second time this year that Twitch has made headlines for taking action against its users for copyright infringement.
After the first time, as a fix for the problem, Twitch announced that it had struck licensing deals with global distributors and a handful of indie labels from around the world to make fully rights-cleared music available to be used by Twitch users via the platform’s new Soundtrack by Twitch tool, which is only licensed for livestreaming and not for on-demand videos.
The ambiguity of the Sountrack tool eventually led to the purge on October 20. Journalist Rod Breslau reported on Twitter, that “hundreds” of Twitch partners have received emails from the platform notifying them that copyrighted music has been used in clips posted on their channels and that those videos have now been deleted, describing it as a bloodbath.
“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,”
states the email sent to Twitch users this week.
The Amazon-owned live streaming platform is legally required to comply with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests served by rights-holders (for example a record label) or by an entity on behalf of a rightsholder, such as the RIAA in order to be protected under US safe harbor laws, and not be held liable for infringing user generated content on its platform.
In June the platform first claimed headlines when it had announced to have received;
“a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19” after various prominent Twitch users reported to have received copyright infringement notices for music used in clips posted on their channels, with the company threatening to terminate the accounts of “repeat infringers.”
In the email sent to streamers, the platform stated that;
“We recognize that by deleting 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 the content on your channel.”
As noted by the Verge, Twitch’s decision to delete the content immediately and not give the alleged infringers the chance to file counter claims could suggest that Twitch, under pressure from rightsholders, “needed to act very quickly”.
“We are incredibly proud of the essential service Twitch has become for so many artists and songwriters, especially during this challenging time,” said Twitch in an official statement.
“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.”