Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch has been hit with “thousands” of DMCA infringement notifications over copyrighted music used in videos.
As first reported by journalist Rod Breslau on Twitter yesterday (October 20), who described the situation as a “bloodbath”, “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.
Speaking to gaming news site Kotaku, a Twitch spokesperson confirmed that “thousands” of infringement notifications had been sent to the platform by rightsholders and that it is “required to process these notifications and notify streamers and take action against repeat infringers by law”.
Twitch 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.
“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.
This is the second time this year that Twitch has made headlines for taking action against its users for copyright infringement.
In June, the platform claimed 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.”
Twitch then announced last month 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.
Elsewhere in the email sent to Twitch streamers this week, 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.
It added: “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”.
“It is crucial that we protect the rights of songwriters, artists and other music industry partners.”
“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.”
Music Business Worldwide