Twitch is muting and deleting streams In light of recent DMCA issues, encouraging content streamers to replace original audio with their own voices.
Twitch streamers continue to report that their streams are being muted or deleted for containing copyrighted audio as the streaming platform continues to ramp up its enforcement of DMCA claims, so they’re getting creative with their protests. Streamers have responded by playing video games during their live broadcasts in complete silence, providing commentary that narrates their every move and doing their best impressions of what the actual game audio sounds like to draw attention to how ridiculous Twitch’s treatment of them has gotten.
Twitch employs an automated system designed to detect any copyrighted content being played or displayed during live feeds. Now, it seems that in-game audio is unacceptable as well; several users have reported that Twitch flagged their content because they were broadcasting certain video game sound effects, despite games inherently being fair use on the platform. Twitch has adjusted its copyright guidelines and protocol in light of a reported increase in the number of DMCA claims filed between 2017 and 2019. This uptick largely focused on the music that streamers featured in the background of their broadcasts.
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According to Polygon, Twitch has not offered any concrete suggestions on how to navigate the revamped guidelines other than telling players they can mute game audio during their live stream. This is a defiant response to Twitch‘s recent Twitter and blog post that addressed these concerns by saying:
“We were as surprised by the number of music-related DMCA takedowns as you were. Before May, we received fewer than 50 per year. Now, we’re receiving thousands each week. This led to the warning email some of you received in October.”
Your frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified. Things can–and should–be better for creators than they have been recently. The next few tweets will outline our plan for being better partners to creators. https://t.co/Ebk1rFlBOM pic.twitter.com/fiFitaZgD5
— Twitch (@Twitch) November 11, 2020
Twitch has been purging user content from its site since last month and it appears the problem is only getting worse. The question of whether or not this DMCA debate can be resolved rests largely on the platform and which decisive actions it takes. While Twitch has publicly acknowledged the issue by offering an apology, no legitimate solutions have been brought forward yet. Twitch is obligated to provide a unified response to the DMCA controversy and offer users a more sensible option rather than leaving them with the non-practical suggestion of muting game audio. Alternative steps to avoid triggering the DMCA process should be available to users. There needs to be more transparency as well. Multiple players have reported that their content was deleted from their channels without warning or explanation during the second wave of DMCA takedowns earlier this month.
The fact that users are having to go to such extreme lengths to comply with Twitch’s new copyright policies is both comedic and worrisome. On one hand, these gamers deserve credit for their imaginative approach to confront a negative situation that has the potential to financially hurt them. On the other, it should have never come to this, and the takedowns continue to raise serious concerns over the future of streaming on Twitch.
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