The frustration many creators have shown with Twitch – the streaming platform giant that became a powerful tool for musicians stuck at home during the pandemic – is no secret. The battle between creators looking to share music with the online world and the copyright that has caused endless hurdles along the way has been a massive pain point for many.
Creators, we hear you. Your frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified. Things can–and should–be better for creators than they have been recently, and this post outlines our next steps to get there. Moving forward, we’ll be more transparent with what’s happening and what tools and resources we’re building to help.
More visibility on copyright
But over the last few months, Twitch has recognized this – and they’re working to find a balance between the relationship that exists between creators who want to continue to, well, create – and the copyright rules that cannot be ignored. In an email sent to Twitch users earlier this month, the streaming company announced the launch of two new features – as well as plans for more feature releases in the coming months.
Their email starts:
First, you need to be able to view your copyright strike status on Twitch so you always know where you stand. Second, you need tools that make it easier to decide what you share on your channel and when. And third, you need more resources to help you understand your rights and the rights of others under copyright law when you stream. These three areas have been and will continue to be our blueprint for 2021, and today we’re announcing the first set of updates that are rolling out to all creators.
The two updates Twitch mentions are:
Product integrations that keep you updated no your copyright strikes and DMCA notifications.
- For example, you’ll now get a ping in your Twitch “My Channel” inbox if you get hit with a DMCA notification about a copyright strike – on top of the email you’d typically get. It’s good to see that Twitch has taken the hint that not everyone is always checking their email, especially ones they may be using for all of their various online accounts.
- You’ll also be able to easily track your copyright strikes in your Twitch account directly, under Video Producer.
Added functionality to easily control what VODs (Video On Demands) you choose to share on your channel.
- You can unpublish all of your VODs at once, or in batches of up to 20 at once.
- You can go a step further and delete all of your VODs at once, too – or in batches of up to 20 at once.
- You can watch any of your VODs – including unpublished ones – directly in your Video Producer (meaning you won’t need to download them first).
What this means for DJs & producers
It’s worth noting a few things here (if you remember, we talked about this back in June 2020):
First, that copyright rules for playing music on Twitch streams isn’t a new thing – it’s been around for years. Twitch’s Community Guidelines list a “DJ Set”, described as “playing and/or mixing pre-recorded music tracks which incorporate music, other than music which is owned by you or music which is licensed for you to share on Twitch”, under the type of music content that you may not use in streams.
Second: that this became drastically more enforced in 2020 than it had ever ben before – largely because of the massive flock of DJs that moved to Twitch when the pandemic hit.
That said, this is a good sign for DJs and producers that use Twitch to stream regularly. Rather than getting your videos muted for copyright and building up copyright strikes without a great way of keeping track of them, you’ll now be able to keep your eye on what footage breaks the rules, and how often you’re doing it.
Keep in mind that copyright flags don’t typically happen while you’re streaming – i.e. you wouldn’t be muted as you’re playing a copyrighted track – but more often afterwards, when the videos are saved to your profile. Conceivably, this new functionality around VODs could allow you to stream a set on your account, then unpublish that video so that it doesn’t get muted afterwards.
Twitch wouldn’t come out and tell you that directly, though – their email does finish out with a reminder to “please only include copyrighted material in your streams and videos if you are authorized to do so, and consider deleting VODs and Clips that might have recorded music in them if you’re unsure about the rights.”
Either way, this feels like a step in the right direction for music streamers who have been battling Twitch’s copyright laws for so long. The company also highlighted a few forthcoming features that are on their roadmap – including the ability to “review the VODs identified in DMCA notifications” and “easily submit a counter-notification” both directly from your Creator Dashboard that will come in the latter half of 2021.
We’re curious to see how the community will take this – as well as how well it works.