Twitch has received a “batch” of new takedown requests from music publishers about copyrighted songs in recorded streams (known as VODs), the company said in an email to streamers today. The notification may be troubling to some streamers affected by the waves of removals that happened last year because if a user gets three copyright strikes on their channel, they will be permanently banned from the platform under Twitch policy. With this advance warning, it appears that Twitch is trying to get ahead of a sudden flurry of deletions and give streamers some time to delete potentially offensive VODs.
“We recently received a series of DMCA takedown notices containing approximately 1,000 individual claims from music publishers,” Twitch said in an email Friday, sending to a Verge staff member. “All claims are for VODs, with the vast majority targeting streamers listening to background music while playing video games or streaming IRL.” Twitch believes the notifications are automated and more alerts are likely to come.
If you’ve bounced around Twitch streams before, you’ve probably heard music playing in the background with many of them. Much of that music is copyrighted, which leads to situations like these massive takedowns when the music industry wants to get paid. In Friday’s email, Twitch noted that the only way to avoid DMCA strikes (or Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is to not stream copyrighted material in the first place, saying that if a streamer is in has their VODs or clips, “we strongly recommend that you permanently delete anything that contains that material.”
DMCA removals first became a major problem for streamers last year. In May, many streamers were blinded by sudden takedown requests, and in October, following another wave of copyright notices, Twitch took the plunge to remove offensive content. At the time, Twitch offered limited tools to streamers to manage content in response to the removals, compounding the problem.
The company apologized for the way it handled the situations in November, saying it received a significantly higher number of music-related DMCA reports from May last year than ever before. The company also pledged to release better tools to help streamers manage their legacy content, and delivered on that promise in March. And for streamers who want to play royalty-free music in the background of their streams, Twitch offers a product called Soundtrack, which it has released in beta worldwide. in October.