Twitch streamers receive a flood of music copyright claims for old clips

They could receive bans for clips they didn't create themselves.

Alex Kormann/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Twitch streamers have had more than a few headaches in recent days. The company has acknowledged (via Evening Standard) a “sudden influx” of DMCA takedown requests against streamers for allegedly violating music copyright in clips captured by viewers between 2017 and 2019. As each request potentially represents a strike against an account, this raises the threat of permanent bans for streamers who might get three strikes with relatively little warning — and for clips they didn’t even choose to create.

The Amazon-owned service is recommending that broadcasters delete any affected clips. However, it’s a very slow process. You can only delete a handful at a time, and popular streamers may have thousands of clips. Twitch said it was working to “make this [process] easier,” but didn’t elaborate how.

We’ve asked Twitch for comment.

The flurry of copyright requests creates problems on top of the threat of sudden bans. It puts the livelihoods of some streamers at risk, particularly those who play music games like Just Dance or Beat Saber — will they have to constantly police their clips? It also raises the question of why users are allowed to create problematic clips in the first place, even when streamers are allowed to use copyrighted material for live shows — assuming the DMCA claims are legitimate in the first place. Streamers who just want background music have approved options, but others may have to dramatically alter behavior they thought was legal in the first place.