Twitch’s DMCA eliminations threaten to oust musicians


“Intellectual property has always been a risky subject in the production and performance of dance music, but with streaming in general – not just live streaming – we are in a new era where intellectual property laws are slapping us. . “

Even though some artists continue to stream live on Twitch, Ramprakash still avoids the website today. “Maybe DMCA removals are something you can take right away, because the sound isn’t cut off during the stream. But that’s not a good long-term solution if you’re trying to build some sort of brand through a specific channel, ”he says.

It is also risky. Twitch uses a three-hit policy for its users. If a creator gets more than three warnings, Twitch could ban them altogether.

The uneven impact of copyright enforcement

Identifying copyrighted music on services like Twitch is fully automatic, with very little human intervention, even at the call stage. This means that platforms like Twitch are more likely to capture popular and well-known music than obscure and underground sounds. This created a unique problem for streamers who wanted to play the rhythm game of Harmonix, Fuser unit. In the game, you play as a DJ and mix sets for a roaring virtual crowd.

“When I first decided that I wanted to broadcast Fuser unit, the DMCA question was absolutely the first thing I thought about, ”says composer and streamer Ryan Mitchum, who calls himself Chongo online. He went to find the game’s broadcast rules. Although he was afraid of it, he ended up broadcasting it on a whim.

He says, “As someone who has been creating mashups and other types of derivative content on Youtube for a pretty good period of time, I think I’m honestly insensitive to the idea of ​​having my work deleted by blocks. copyright. “

Even those who play original music are not without problems. Plastician says, “A lot of the music that I personally play is often unreleased. Much of it is mine and the music that was sent to me by the people who produced it. So in many cases not much of the music I play is picked up by DMCA because it doesn’t exist anywhere in the system. “

However, in his early days he faced a unique problem. “In the beginning, a lot of the music that received DMCAs was music from my label. So I see DMCAs for things I owned, ”he says. He wanted himself and others to be able to use his music without fear of a DMCA strike. “I had to talk to my distributor and ask, ‘What is causing these strikes? Because my personal position is, I don’t mind people playing my music on their streams. I am very happy that they are doing it. “

Its distributor said that a supplier was the cause of all the teardowns, a database called Audible Magic. After he deleted it from the database, the DMCA notices stopped.

I asked Plastician if he was lucky to be working with Twitch to resolve previous strikes. He said to me, “I have sent a few requests to cancel some of them in the past. I didn’t notice any emails to initiate the dispute so I can’t really comment on this as I haven’t personally had any contact from Twitch. Not yet anyway.

Switch to greener pastures

Some DJs take a different and new approach: bypassing Twitch entirely, and they don’t have to worry about copyright abuse and DMCA deletions. Additionally, many DJs aren’t rooted in Twitch the same way game streamers are, and they’re keen to make their own alternatives, assuming their audience will go along with them.

Eckbald says he’s “definitely working on a custom self-host solution.” His feeds have never used Twitch’s tip system, so he’s not worried about losing the platform’s own monetization features. He says it was good to use something already built, but “we’re not going to lose anything by leaving.”

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