Twitch originally started out as a place for players to broadcast their adventures and misfortunes to a captive audience. It has long since surpassed that unique purpose, however, as it expanded to cover art streams, instructional videos and more. Often, these streams played music in the background, unaware that they may be infringing on someone else’s copyright. That’s what the DMCA notices are for, and Twitch is now explaining the rather unpleasant situation that its creators and streamers have faced in recent months, thanks to a huge flow of copyright infringement claims.
It is not uncommon for services like Twitch and YouTube to receive such claims, resulting in the withdrawal of the supposedly offensive video, at least until the matter is resolved. Since May, however, Twitch has reported thousands of notifications every week, which it found to have been made against video on demand or extremely old VODs from years ago. The influx caught Twitch unprepared and revealed how ill-equipped he was to handle DMCA cases.
Amazon’s proprietary service admits it could have done things better, even before the flood of DMCA notices came quickly. In addition to only dealing with these specific cases, however, he also admits that he didn’t have many tools to allow creators to manage videos in addition to a bulk “delete all” option and individually select the videos to be removed. Unlike YouTube, it also lacked a tool to analyze videos and alert users that they were using copyrighted content.
Twitch promises that these improvements will come, but for now, his only advice is not to use copyrighted meditation in streams. He has a collection of music with rights released and also encourages creators to look for other similar sources of music.
Unfortunately, this episode also touches on the rather thorny topic of copyright and fair use. Streaming games, for example, may have non-obvious restrictions that prevent streamers from playing even game music. Despite the “Millennium” in its name, these laws have not been able to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing Internet landscape and we are confident that we will see more problems like this as the record industry continues to use the DCMA hammer in everyone the places you see.