Twitch DMCA Response
November 13, 2020

Opinion – It’s way past time for Twitch to act like they care

In what can only be titled as the DMCApocalypse Twitch has been hit by a wave of DMCA takedowns. The response of the platform has been lacking to say the least.

When the wave of takedowns hit Twitch in late October the company abruptly deleted thousands of videos and issued an urgent warning to delete entire archives, even developing a new tool for content creators to do so. As those actions came with little to no warning streamers worldwide were understandably upset at having lost years worth of content.

A poor attempt at an apology

Twitch’ recent blogpost now attempts to smooth the waves of outrage and frustration but it does a poor job at it. Their apology for taking so long to communicate clearly seems quite hollow, considering the amount of problems content creators are facing.

While Twitch promised to develop new tools for better management of DMCA-related issues, they did not name a timeframe for more granular archive management or better music recognition. Instead their only offered option to move forward as of now was the following:

“1) if you play recorded music on your stream, you need to stop doing that and 2) if you haven’t already, you should review your historical VODs and Clips that may have music in them and delete any archives that might. ”

Are streamers supposed to mute the entire game?

While the advice to not play recorded music on stream is not wrong, currently there are also plenty of cases in which streamers are hit by copyright strikes for simply having a game’s soundtrack on during their playthroughs.

Twitch’ solution to that is to just mute the entire game audio, which cannot be the way a platform that prides itself as “the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers” responds to essential parts of a video game.

This new communication by Twitch just shows that they are pushing all responsibilities on to their streamers instead of actually taking action.

Twitch does not care enough to take action

While music and media rights in general are a complicated topic that cannot be solved easily, a multi-million company, that is a subsidiary to one of the largest companies in the world is infinitely better equipped to deal with it than individual streamers. And there are other ways to deal with streaming’s inherent conflicts with right holders. Twitch and Amazon only need to look at their competitors.  If Facebook Gaming is able to negotiate a deal that allows their streamers to play background music, Twitch should be more than capable of doing the same.

Twitch does touch upon the issue briefly, but never states why “the current constructs for licenses that the record labels have with other services make less sense for Twitch.” So why don’t they act to protect the community that helped turn Twitch into the largest streaming website worldwide? The answer is simple, they simply do not care enough about it, showing utter negligence in their handling of the issue that threatens the backbone of their site.

Together with the ongoing frustrations for viewers regarding Twitch’ new mid-rolls and increased frequency of ads, Twitch is alienating more and more of its users and has lost touch with the community that made them. Unless there is significant change in Twitch’ approach to those issues, we might just see a migration that will dwarf the impact the short-lived streaming war with Mixer ever had.

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Image Credit: Twitch
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