DMCA takedowns are a major problem for Twitch streamers. Since 2021, Twitch has been cracking down on copyrighted materials and misuses of music. Countless users have had their content s demonetized, taken down, and even had accounts banned. There are a lot of unanswered questions around Twitch’s DMCA rules: what does it mean to get a DMCA strike on Twitch? What music can I play during Twitch streams and videos? And where can streamers find DMCA-free music? Well, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll run through Twitch’s copyright policies, how they enforce them, and how Slip. Stream
- What is the DMCA? And how does it affect Twitch streamers?
- How does Twitch enforce its copyright policies?
- Am I protected if I use Twitch’s Soundtrack tool?
- How can I protect my streams and saved VODs?
- What if an artist gives me permission to use their songs?
- What’s the best way to avoid DMCA strikes and takedowns on Twitch?
What is the DMCA? And how does it affect Twitch streamers?
Streamers on Twitch love to set the mood with some background music, and fans love it too. But it’s a risky decision in today’s digital landscape.
As Twitch put it on their own FAQ page: “If you use another person's copyrighted work in your content, they can send Twitch a takedown notification. It is our policy to act on those notifications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") and similar laws worldwide. It is also our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers—i.e., people who on multiple occasions have been accused of infringing the rights of others.”
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is an American law passed in 1998. It was made to protect copyrighted content from being distributed freely on the internet. This law covers all kinds of intellectual property (IP), from music and TV/movie clips to photographs, articles, and beyond. Though it’s an American law, anyone in the world can use the DMCA to safeguard their IP son Twitch (since it is s based in the U.S.)
All this to say, Twitch will take down any content that violates DMCA laws and terminate any channels that prove to be repeated offenders
How does Twitch enforce its copyright policies?
Following the massive wave of DMCA 2021 Twitch updated its tracking systems to be stricter in monitoring copyright infringement on the platform.
They now rely on the third-party system Audible Magic to proactively detect any copyrighted material flagged in VODs. This software scans VOD and clips for copyright content, and if anything is flagged, that section of infringement is muted. that said, moments do inevitably slip through, which is why streamers continue to receive so many DMCA takedowns.
If Audible Magic detects multiple instances of copyrighted audio in your VOD(s) in 24 hours, you will receive a warning to your channel and email. These notifications aren’t strikes, although accumulating more than three could put your channel at risk of termination.
It's true that Twitch’s enforcement of copyright is difficult to navigate; the platform’s DMCA guidelines state that a repeated infringer is someone that’s received more than three copyright strikes, and accruing three strikes results in a termination of a user’s channel. Although the stages between a warning and a strike are unclear. What is clear is that if a rightsholder submits a DMCA complaint to the platform, Twitch is required to remove the relevant content and “may disable a live stream and/or suspend an account if the claimed infringement is continuing at the time (they) receive the rights holder’s notification.” Like we said, confusing.
Am I protected if I use Twitch’s Soundtrack tool?
Short answer, not fully. Twitch’s Soundtrack tools give you access to music that is safe to stream, NOT to save.
So if you plan to stream only, then yes you can play music from Twitch Soundtrack. However, if you want to archive any videos for later or save clips, then you cannot rely on that catalog. This is because in the agreement Twitch reached with these artists, the music is licensed for live video only. If you're looking to build your following, then VODs make a big difference. Read why here.
When it comes to Twitch — and any platform, really, but especially Twitch — the best option is to air on the side of caution. And we have two words for you streamers out there: royalty-free music.
How can I protect my streams and saved VODs?
There are a few steps you should take immediately to keep your channel safe.
We suggest deleting any saved videos, VODs, or other clips that contain copyrighted music. Even if you had permission to use songs in the past, Twitch’s new agreements may not protect you moving forward. If you’re playing a video game with a built-in soundtrack, check if they have a “Streamer Mode.” This will usually mute the music automatically, so you can stream without the music getting flagged. If they don’t offer Streamer Mode, you may want to mute the game yourself.
What if an artist gives me permission to use their songs?
This is a case-by-case basis, so not a reliable content strategy in the long term. If you get permission, but the content owner changes their mind, you could still be at risk. Your agreement with them should be formal, and in writing, but even with all that there’s still a chance that Twitch third-party algorithm flags and mutes your video. If you find yourself dealing with a mistaken takedown, you can file a complaint directly to Twitch and ask for a review. Read our article How To Deal with Copyright Strikes, Claims, or Being Muted On YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok in 2022 to learn more.
What’s the best way to avoid DMCA strikes and takedowns on Twitch?
We have 3 words for you: royalty-free music.
You might be wondering, where does one find royalty-free music? And how do I budget for l a high volume of tracks that may vary wildly in price? That’s where Slip.Stream can help. We provide accessible royalty-free music. In fact, we have the largest royalty-free music catalog in the world. By subscribing with a small, monthly fee you’ll have access to thousands of songs with unlimited downloads, on any channels you want, for any platform you want.
Slip. Stream is also built to avoid DCMA strikes and paperwork frustrations. All of our tracks are unique to our platform, and none of our tracks are entered into a Content ID database like Audible Magic, preventing any and all DMCA issues. This leaves you more time to do what you do best: create amazing content.