Twitch addresses DMCA issues in new blog post

The record labels hold the power.

Image via Twitch

Twitch has posted a new blog today addressing the latest wave of DMCA claims and the main gist of it is this: Don’t play copyrighted music on stream.

For years, major record labels either turned a blind eye or didn’t know that copyrighted music was being played on stream. That changed earlier in the year, though. Twitch said it used to receive “fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year,” but now it’s receiving “thousands each week.”

On Oct. 20, hundreds of Twitch partners received emails from Twitch about DMCA takedown warnings, sparking the controversy. The emails didn’t mention what the actual infringing content was, however, leaving basically everyone in the dark.

The last batch of warnings came back in May when major record label representatives started sending thousands of emails threatening takedowns.

“One important question we’ve heard from you is: how can I stream safely and confidently on Twitch without having to worry about getting DMCA notifications from music use?” Twitch said in its blog post. “Most importantly, don’t play recorded music in your stream unless you own all rights in the music, or you have the permission of the necessary rights holder(s). Doing this is the best protection for your streams going forward.”

The majority of the takedowns come from months and sometimes years-old clips featuring copyrighted content. Streamers have since been forced to delete years worth of VODs and clips to avoid legal action.

“Some of you have asked why we don’t have a license covering any and all uses of recorded music,” Twitch said. “We are actively speaking with the major record labels about potential approaches to additional licenses that would be appropriate for the Twitch service. That said, the current constructs for licenses that the record labels have with other services (which typically take a cut of revenue from creators for payment to record labels) make less sense for Twitch. The vast majority of our creators don’t have recorded music as a part of their streams, and the revenue implications to creators of such a deal are substantial.”

The full blog post mentions that Twitch is creating new products and tools to help avoid DMCA takedowns, including the ability to mass delete clips, better control over what audio from livestreams will show up in recorded content, and, eventually, the ability to review allegedly infringing content.

For those who want to continue to enjoy music while they stream, Twitch suggests its own fully licensed service Soundtrack by Twitch or other rights-cleared options like Soundstripe, Monstercat Gold, Chillhop, Epidemic Sound, and NCS.