Twitch published a blog post today with the relatively anodyne title “Music-Related Copyright Claims and Twitch.” What was in it, however, was anything but. The post explained exactly why streamers received that strange email notifying them that Twitch had deleted some of their clips and VODs, and it gave creators an update on what tools they can expect to see from the company in the future.
The bottom line? Twitch was unprepared for a sudden onslaught of copyright takedown notices from the music industry that started back in May. “Until May of this year, streamers received fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year on Twitch. Beginning in May, however, representatives for the major record labels started sending thousands of DMCA notifications each week that targeted creators’ archives, mostly for snippets of tracks in years-old Clips,” it wrote. (Emphasis Twitch’s.) “We continue to receive large batches of notifications, and we don’t expect that to slow down.”
Twitch confirmed that it had decided to simply remove the targeted clips — because that’s what’s required by law — and also paused copyright strikes for the three days after that email was sent to creators in October. The company also apologized for only giving creators a mass-deletion tool for clips. “We could have developed more sophisticated, user-friendly tools awhile ago. That we didn’t is on us,” it wrote. “And we could have provided creators with a longer time period to address their VOD and Clip libraries – that was a miss as well. We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better.”
Twitch also said that it was working on new tools to help streamers who have been hit with a copyright infringement notification. These include expanding the use of their technology that detects copyrighted audio and “more granular ways to manage your archive.” The company also promised more control over what audio ends up in VODs — and it pointed to its new tool, Soundtrack, which allows streamers to play licensed music in streams without that music appearing in recorded content. Last, the company said it needed to give streamers the ability to review which pieces of content were infringing to help them more easily file a counter-notification.
These are steps in the right direction. But it’s a little galling that Twitch didn’t have them implemented in the first place.