Twitch sends out new volley of emails warning that the DMCA is not happy

Hello Darkness my old friend

When it comes to streaming on Twitch, it pays to keep in mind that there’s less potential for trouble when you’re accompanied by the sound of silence. And by that, we’re not talking the Simon & Garfunkle rendition of “The Sound of Silence”, but instead the real thing. Why? That would be because the DMCA has cracked down once again on Twitch users playing unauthorized music while they play Call of Duty, Overwatch, or, um chess. Except when they play chess, they’re likely dressed up like Beth Harmon and blaring “Venus” by Shocking Blue.

If you like music, and more importantly like setting your streamed content to music, chances are you’ve run into trouble with the DMCA. That’s short for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and its watchdogs are constantly scouring the web for streams where music has been posted without the permission of the copyright holder.

Music publishers continue to monitor the streaming platform for unauthorized use of songs. And a result, today there were in excess of 1,000 DCMA takedown notices sent to Twitch users by the platform.

Most of those users were playing their favourite songs in the background, no doubt oblivious to the fact that they were violating copyright laws. And, while the DMCA doesn’t seem to care, getting watchers scrambling to Shazam to identify those songs. But we digress.

What’s important is that someone is watching, and that Twitch has a pretty good idea who. Yes, the DMCA has cracked down.

DMCA has cracked down!

“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,” an email sent out to violaters states. “We are actively speaking with music labels about solutions that could work for creators as well as rights holders. 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 they decided to send takedowns when we are willing and ready to speak to them about solutions.”

This isn’t the first time that creators on Twitch have been told to start taking down content where songs that haven’t been cleared are playing in the background. A huge bunch of notices went out this past spring.

Twitch has also taken a step to make it easier to delete individual videos containing music that streamers were not authorized to use. Previous manual deletion of clips was so difficult that many popular Twitch users chose to delete their entire back libraries rather than run into trouble with the DMCA. The main fear is, of course, being sued for copyright violation. And also of losing followers, with numbers sometimes in the hundreds of thousands.

Being flagged for violating a copyright is never a good thing for Twitch users. First the DMCA steps in with a cease and desist order, after which the ball is in Twitch’s court to ensure that a post is removed. Get enough copyright strikes and your account is terminated.

All of which to say, if you’re streaming on Twitch, you might want to avoid playing “The Sound of Silence”. Even if it’s only the Disturbed version.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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