Music Tech

Twitch expresses ‘disappointment’ with music industry recent DMCA claims

Twitch has expressed “disappointment” after a recent round of DMCA takedown notices ignited exactly the response one might expect from the music industry.

Op-ed by Timothy Geigner of Techdirt

The saga that has been Twitch’s last six or so months is long and somewhat varied, so you should go read up on our historical coverage if you’re not familiar with it, but we need to at least preface this post with the origins of how Twitch’s bad time began. What has been a tumultuous several months began when it absolutely freaked out over a flood of DMCA takedown notices it received, mostly from the music industry. In response to that, and without warning to its creative community, Twitch nuked a bunch of content from the platform, mostly ignored the outcry from its creators, and did very little to put anything in place that would keep such a disastrous situation from happening again.

So of course it happened again. Twitch recently sent out an email that it had received roughly 1,000 additional DMCA takedown notices, almost all of them again over music playing in the background of recorded Twitch videos.

Said Twitch in its email on Friday: “We are committed to being more transparent with you about DMCA. We recently received a batch of DMCA take down notifications with about 1,000 individual claims from music publishers.

“All of the claims are for the VODs and the vast majority target streamers listening to background music while playing video games or IRL streaming. Based on the number of claims we believe these rights holders used automated tools to scan and identify copyrighted music in creators VODs and clips, which means that they will likely send further notices.”

Of course they will. Twitch invited them to when it showed itself to be a willing partner in treating Twitch creators like a testing ground for DMCA cluster bombs. There are platforms out there that manage to both treat DMCA requests seriously and also provide some protection, or at least communication, to its users. A few tools for creators aside, Twitch’s inaction on behalf of its creative community amounted essentially to greenlighting ever more DMCA takedowns from the music industry. Any surprise at that by the Amazon-owned company is laughable.

But this neutered, throwaway line from that same email is simply maddening.

“This is our first such contact from the music publishing industry (there can be several owners for a single piece of music) and we are disappointed that they decided to send takedowns when we were willing and ready to speak to them about solutions.”

As the old saying goes, be disappointed at the music industry’s aggressive copyright enforcement in one hand and spit in the other and see which fills up faster. There is no substance to this disappointment. Of course the music industry has gone kazoo filing DMCA notices at Twitch. Twitch has made it clear its on their side, even making it easier than before to file these notices.

The real disappointment here is that Twitch, and by extension Amazon, has so wildly left its creative community out to dry when it comes to copyright enforcement and DMCA takedowns. It’s simply not doing enough.

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