Twitch Copyright Woes Worsen As ‘Thousands’ Of Videos Are Deleted Over DMCA Infringement

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.

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.”

The following month, at the House Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust hearing, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said that he didn’t know whether Twitch had licensed its music or not.

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.”