Twitch Faces Sudden Stream of DMCA Notices Over Background Music

from the open-the-hatches dept

There is obviously a great deal of action going on currently in the streaming world, spurred on in part by the COVID-19 crises that has many people at home looking for fresh content. Between the attempts to respond to social movements and tamp down "hateful" content to changes to the competitive landscape, streaming services are having themselves a moment. But with the sudden uptick in popularity comes a new spotlight painting a target on streaming platforms for everyone from scammers to intellectual property maximilists.

Twitch has recently found itself a target for the latter, suddenly getting slammed with a wave of DMCA notices that appear to focus mostly on background music.

Copyright strikes are an occupational hazard for many Twitch streamers and content creators, but a recent surge of DMCA takedown requests has overwhelmed the community. Now, Twitch support staff has responded to complaints, stating that the claims are focused on clips with background music from 2017 to 2019, and recommending that streamers remove them. The tweets also state that this is the first time that Twitch has received mass DMCA claims against clips.

Given that Twitch is still most popular as a site for live-streams and let's-plays of video games, the speculation is that a great deal of this is targeting clips that include video game music. And, as we've seen elsewhere, it's also the case that scammers are currently using game music as a method to try to takedown or monetize the videos of others. Whether or not that's what is going on here is anyone's guess, as Twitch is making it fairly clear that the flood of notices is so large that it's simply taking down content and advising its streamers to proactively take down anything that might include this sort of copyrighted content.

Except that leaves no room for a number of things, including arguments for Fair Use of certain music, not to mention streamers that may be using game music from individuals or companies that don't mind their work being up on Twitch. In the case of the latter, this is where scammers can most insidiously insert themselves into the mix.

And, what's more, even the lawyers are telling streamers not to counter the claims without getting an attorney, so fraught is the copyright landscape.

The action also prompted a response from advocates like Ryan Morrison, better known as the Video Game Attorney. Morrison advised content creators not to counter the claims without speaking to an intellectual property lawyer. "You are quite literally telling them you are going to continue what you’re doing unless they sue you," he tweeted. "Don’t threaten billionaire companies to sue you. Lawyer up."

So here's this newly thriving ecosystem of Twitch streamers, creating content that is not a mere copy of anything, but may use some copyrighted content in streams, and a huge chunk of it could get disappeared either out of legal compliance by Twitch or proactive fear-based takedowns by the streamers themselves.

All over some clips including background music? I'm trying to picture myself explaining all of this to the framers of copyright law, but somehow I don't think they'd get it.

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Filed Under: background music, copyright, dmca, takedowns
Companies: twitch


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:32pm

    "Don’t threaten billionaire companies to sue you. Lawyer up."

    I'll take reasons why the legal system unjustly favors the wealthy for a thousand, Alex.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:49pm

    "I'm trying to picture myself explaining all of this to the framers of copyright law, but somehow I don't think they'd get it. "

    Well, to be fair to them, the internet was in its infancy back then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      "Well, to be fair to them, the internet was in its infancy back then."

      Considering that the framers of copyright law was the Guild of Stationers if you could make them understand just how it could be abused they'd exclaim "Wonderful! Better than we could ever dream of!" in star-struck tones or blissful joy.

      No grifter ever complained his latest scam worked too well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:54pm

    Hmmm this provokes a thought. IP maximalists are pretty unoriginal, in fact they are very nearly copies of each other... by their own argument, shouldn't their only be one IP maximalists (I guess they could licenses them selves out if the want... a new type of human trafficking I guess).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 12:59pm

    Uh, I wouldn't take anything from Ryan Morrison at face value currently: https://twitter.com/BANparty/status/1275512462759137283

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:19pm

    I can’t wait to see how the people who denounce corporate censorship but also love copyright/the DMCA explain this cognitive dissonance–creating situation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      From a possible response by a rightsholder:

      "Well, when Twitter or Facebook do it, it's corporate censorship. When a DMCA notice is sent out, it's "protecting artist's rights."

      What's that you say about the rights of the artists whose work is being taken down? They aren't signed to our label so clearly their work isn't as valuable as ours."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jul 2020 @ 1:47am

      Re:

      The same way many self-defined right-wing "libertarians" nominally dead set against Big Government so easily resolve their stalwart belief in ultra-authoritarian collectivism, no doubt.

      Compartmentalization and doublethink is a thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 2:12pm

    Some games have an option to switch off in game music precisely so there's no dmca notices sent to streamers. Apart from Nintendo the vast majority of devs have no problem with streamers playing their games, it's a form of free advertising for the game.
    Most streamers will simply take down the videos,
    as they can, t afford to go to court.
    No one wants to go to court to argue streaming a game is fair use.
    Maybe some day a streamer like ninja will go to court. Eg someone who is very rich and can afford to fight a legal case.
    Watching streams and gaming is more popular than ever as its safe as more people stay home for obvious reasons.
    Even YouTube takes down many videos that could be
    fair use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 4:06pm

      Re:

      The way I read the article I was thinking the background music was not in game music but just general background music playing over a stereo or something... it may well be both.

      If it is just general background noise not related to the game... the music industry has been going after these people for a long time on the likes of youtube.

      If it is game music... this should not be a problem... how many games have an option to save clips or stream game play? I would think it is kind of the idea to be able to post game play online... kind of like free advertising.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 3:51pm

    I'm trying to picture myself explaining all of this to the framers of copyright law, but somehow I don't think they'd get it.

    Alex, imagine it like this... you're in Congress, trying to explain why assuming state's debts is a good idea, and you've got a string quartet playing in the background to make the crowd more receptive to your ideas.

    And then Jefferson stands up and claims the quartet has to leave, because the piece of music they're playing is under copyright owned by him and Madison.

    Everyone laughs at you, and your proposal is rejected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 4:05pm

    Meanwhile, that guy from Linkin Park or something is releasing free-to-use music from an album (is that still a thing?) he created while livestreaming the work.

    Weird, i thought Twitch had royalty agreements or something, as much game music doesn't get audiowiped where it would on the Youtube.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2020 @ 6:22pm

    Someone also noted on Twitter when I was talking about this that this DMCA crackdown also opens up a new form of harassment in a space that already has a major problem with harassment (especially toward women, POC, etc) - music bombing via voice chat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:10pm

    A lot of streamers will play music from Spotify or the like behind their streams, so this is probably what they’re getting hit with DMCA claims about.

    I’d love to see a major streamer or two shoot a few segments to replace the DMCA’d clips. Just the streamer on a boring background saying “In this clip you would have seen me (insert cool video game shenanigans or make a funny reaction to the game or chat), but (music label) thinks you might watch the clip for a minute of (song name) instead of buying or streaming just the song. If you disagree with that assessment, you could let them know at (dmca claimant’s email). Keep your flaming civil.” Then they can fight trolls with trolls.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 4:26pm

      Re:

      While it wouldn't entirely remove the threat of bogus DMCA claims streamers using music only from musicians who have made it clear that they are perfectly fine with their music used in that way would be a good way to fight back, not to mention give attention to artists that could use it more.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:41pm

    And how to fight back?

    Even if this is Faked or the RIAA running amuck.
    How to fight back?

    Can these folks group up and work together to declare anything or take it to court?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 11 Jul 2020 @ 12:45pm

      Re: And how to fight back?

      Whats interesting is IF'
      They have the same feature as YT, where the Monitization goes to the Complainant While things Adjudicated, by YT..If ever

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2020 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Jual Balon Tepuk Murah

    lolwhaaaat?

    Orang, what is this stick balloon?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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