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Twitch apologises for music copyright issues, outlines optimistic plan

Twitch has finally responded to the concerns of content creators with a plan to help those affected by DMCA takedowns, though there is still a long way to go.

In a blog post, Twitch apologised for its belated reply to the issues threatening the livelihood of streamers on its platform. For the past month, Twitch streamers have lived in fear of their channels being jeopardised by a DMCA takedown out of the blue.

These fears were not eased whatsoever with an email from Twitch itself, which effectively stated that the platform had no way of dealing with copyright issues. The contents of the email were posted to Twitter by streamer Devin Nash, leading to widespread backlash against Twitch from the community.

Herman Li DragonForce Twitch
DragonForce guitarist Herman Li was suspended by Twitch for playing his own music (Image: MusicRadar)

Twitch revealed that DMCA notifications were previously uncommon, with “fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year” being received prior to May this year. Come May, all hell broke loose with major record labels sending “thousands of DMCA notifications each week“, targeting years-old clips.

With it now being known that major record labels employ goblins in their basements (just joking, it’s bots) who scroll through thousands of VODs trying to find snippets of tracks, Twitch pledged to provide tools for content creators to (1) give more control over recorded content, (2) control what audio shows up in recorded content, and (3) give the ability to review DMCA strikes.

Since the average Twitch streamer is not likely to be fully-educated in the complexities of copyright law, the exact nature of the DMCA strikes perplexed many. This was especially the case when the channel of DragonForce guitarist Herman Li was suspended for playing his own music.

Twitch will host a Creator Camp live session on 18 November to educate streamers on copyright and DMCA law. The platform is also negotiating for licenses to be widely available for its users.

In the meantime, it is recommended to “[not] 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)” or to “use a fully licensed alternative like Soundtrack by Twitch, or other rights cleared music libraries such as Soundstripe, Monstercat Gold, Chillhop, Epidemic Sound, and NCS.

Besides Twitch and its community, developers are also taking note of the ongoing situation. An update to FIFA 21 introduced a ‘Disable All Music For Streaming Purposes’ option for its soundtrack featuring the likes of Dua Lipa, Tame Impala, Charli XCX, and Stormzy.

Meanwhile, CD Projekt Red has assured that the original soundtrack for its upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077 should be safe from DMCAs. This soundtrack will feature Grimes, A$AP Rocky, and Run The Jewels.