Twitch Streamers, BEWARE: DMCAs cracking down on Twitch creators

Whether you play video games on Twitch or you stream yourself eating 10,000 calories worth of meat as quickly as possible, you probably know about the rising tension in the streaming community regarding DMCA regulations. Publishers and creators in the music industry struggle more than any other creative medium with copyright laws.

All creators deserve to recover all uses of their intellectual properties. That being said, you, as a fellow creator, should appreciate DMCA laws. At the very least, you should at least know about the recent updates to protect yourself when streaming on Twitch.

What is DMCA and how it affects Twitch Streamers?

According to the official U.S. Copyright Office Summary in December of 1998, DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) uses tons of “and not limited to” legal-style jargon to say, “Don’t use it if it ain’t yours.” Of course, without formal consent, you shouldn’t use, copy, or redistribute anything that you didn’t create. In this case, DMCA laws refer to intellectual properties.

Now, most of us who stream blast popular songs and music from our favorite artists. Streaming wasn’t always as respected a medium as it is in this generation of content creation. There was a time when you could do pretty much anything you wanted in a live format.

DJs could spin and mix tracks as much as they wanted. Fitness streamers could play their favorite tunes to help them “pump it up.” And, of course, gamers could add an extra layer of flair and personality by bumping popular hip hop and anime music to maximize engagement with their chat. Now, streaming has become one of the more popular ways to consume content, and its growth in popularity is the primary factor in the DMCA hammer coming down on Twitch streamers.

Twitch warns streamers about DMCA

Twitch recently shot an email to its creators stating its desires to “[educate] creators and [provide] resources to understand the rules and risks concerning the use of music on Twitch as well as building new product features [which will invest] in proactive detection and muting, and working with rights holders on longer-term solutions.”

Experts believe it’s statements like this that should concern content creators and streamers who not only use Twitch to stream live on the internet but any streaming host. Streaming video games and content has become so popular and brings money to the gaming industry and beyond. It’s allowing gamers and creators a means to connect with their fanbase in ways that we’ve never seen.

Because of this, Twitch users are still being shut down at alarming rates with little to no warning because of the existence of copyright intellectual property in their videos. If you are a content creator who spends most of his or her time streaming, you should not be surprised that DMCA laws would become more problematic for you, ESPECIALLY if you are using music and content that doesn’t belong to you.

What to do to prevent being shut down on Twitch?

It isn’t the streaming of the content that’s getting people in trouble. It’s the clips and VODs that are being saved to their platforms that are being claimed. Think about it:

YouTube has been hit HARD by DMCA and copyright laws of its lifespan. It’s normal to have a video demonetized or wholly removed if copyrighted content appears in your video. What makes you think that any other platform would treat your published videos any differently?

In the email sent to its creators earlier today, Twitch themselves advised that “all of the claims are for VODs.” They go on further to say that in order to prevent adverse impacts to your channel, you should remove any VODs or clips with “unauthorized music or other copyrighted material.” Twitch strongly recommends that you permanently delete those videos as they are the primary drivers for notices and claims from creators, and doing so will warrant longevity on the platform.

Are you a Twitch streamer? Let us know in the comments if you think Twitch’s handlings of DMCA are fair to everyone!

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Featured image: Amancay Maahs on flickr.

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