First thing’s first – How did we get here?
Starting in May 2020, representatives of many record labels began sending thousands of DMCA takedown requests to Twitch. They mainly focused on snippets of tracks present in years-old clips. This is an issue that has affected partners and affiliates alike, and Twitch does not expect this trend to slow down. You can read more about this in their blog.
While Twitch (and parent company Amazon) have the money and resources to fix this issue, that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s talk about measures you can take to safeguard your channel against DMCA strikes and best practices for an uncertain future.
Your Channel Until Now
At this moment, Twitch does not seem to be suspending their internal DMCA strike system. This means that your entire channel history of videos and clips could contain copyright-infringing material from background music or even tracks used in your games.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers and creators are still wrestling with the right course of action on this front.
Reviewing and deleting any VODs or clips that contain music that may be copyright-infringing is the safest course of action. Also, be sure to backup your best moments to safely upload onto other platforms with more sophisticated copyright systems, like Youtube. This could even be the start of your expanded presence, something we recommend in our How to Grow Your Twitch Channel article.
What You Can Do Today
While this is a rapidly changing topic, there are some easy actions you can take to protect yourself from DMCA strikes going forward and maybe even improve your stream.
- Check your game settings for an option to disable licensed music.
Some developers—like the teams behind Control and Fortnite—have heard the call for change and provided the option to disable infringing music for content creators. You should take advantage of this if it is present in the games you are streaming.
- Assess the vibe of your background music.
While we all enjoy song and video requests in a stream, we may be moving to a post-request world. Luckily, that doesn’t mean we have to suffer from mediocre elevator music in our videos. This is a great opportunity to think of the tone you want to set without worrying about DMCA.
Twitch has created Soundtrack by Twitch, a software that can remove music automatically from vods and clips as long as it is from their rights-cleared library. The downside is, it does not currently work with all streaming software.
But there are other options, like Monstercat Gold, where companies are licensing their music for streamers to use in an affordable way and ensuring you will never receive DMCA strikes for doing so.
- Be on the alert for new sound clips.
Neither Alert notifications nor sound clips triggered by bits are spared from possible DMCA strikes on Twitch. Think of it as a catalyst to update your channel’s branding to better reflect you and what you do.
Rather than using copyrighted sound clips to announce a new sub, consider recording a message that plays for them, or a musical flourish you made in Garageband.
As Twitch continues to lag behind competitors such as YouTube in providing a framework to manage DMCA and copyright, it ultimately falls to you as a creator to make sensible decisions about your brand.
There’s never been a better time to think about whether that one alert is truly integral to your channel experience, or whether you can find a great alternative that won’t incur a DMCA strike. We hope that following some of these tips will keep you safe in the coming months and help you think about your stream’s appeal going forward!