In a massive blow to both preservation of game content and streaming archives, new Twitch rules have resulted in the deletion for hundreds of streamers for their archived content, in what Twitch is terming compliance with the DMCA.
It is yet another attack in what is no doubt forceful pressure from the music industry. The reasons for these DMCA's is simple; copyrighted music. Simply put, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has long been going after Twitch Streamers due to music copyrights, and in response, Twitch has sent out hundreds of emails to streamers - some of which are Twitch partners - that they would be removing content that would violate the music copyrights.
Users on Twitch were not given any penalties for the removal of their work, but also did not allow any counter-claims to the takedown. What's worse, this may be the norm going forward when it comes to copyrighted music.
"This content was identified and deleted for you, in accordance with its obligations under the DMCA." noted Twitch Support on Twitter. "Going forward, Clips that are identified as having copyrighted music will be deleted without penalty to help ensure you do not receive DMCA notifications from rights holders."
Twitch also did not notify which clips or videos were taken down to Twitch streamers. This goes beyond previous DMCA takedowns, including one earlier this June which saw older clips being taken down due to copyrighted music.
It should also be noted that Twitch will be allowing music companies to begin flagging videos on Oct 23, again without the notification of the DMCA takedown. The 3 strikes rule - which sees a permaban to Twitch users if they are hit by three copyright strikes - is still in effect, once that date is reached. After 90 days, it appears that strikes will be wiped off, if it is under 3 total.
The response has been overwhelmingly negative by twitch streamers, twitch partners, and gaming industry insiders.
"It is INSANE that Twitch informs partners they deleted their content - and that there is more content in violation despite having NO identification system to find out what it is." noted YouTuber and Streamer Devin Nash on Twitter. " Their solution to DMCA is for creators to delete their life's work. This is pure, gross negligence."
Others, such as Esports consultant Rod Breslau were much more dramatic in his own tweets. "The Twitch DMCA bloodbath has begun, as hundreds of partnered streamers have received emails from Twitch as DMCA takedown notifications.
The anger within the Twitch Community is not unfounded, as the scale and scope of how many clips have been lost due to Twitch automatically deleting them is unknown at this time. Regardless, the loss of archived clips is not only a loss of old gameplay videos of hundreds of Twitch Streamers, but the loss of archival and historical footage of multiple games. Many games with licensed music will also be affected by this heavily, likely being unable to play the games with the music available.
Twitch is also not the only platform affected by the DMCA's. YouTube has also suffered major takedowns and DMCAs of hundreds of videos, many of which by or from musicians.
Unfortunately, there is little recourse at this time, other than a general warning to avoid using any copyrighted music that could be under DMCA.
As Twitch Streamer Cohh Carnage suggested (and we're not entirely sure how seriously), "Our industry needs a new badge, like an ESRB rating, that marks all the content in the game as safe to stream. A "Stream Safe" badge. A way for us to know that we can safely broadcast the game (and its contents) without worry. I know I'd prioritize those games for sure."