Twitch updates music Terms of Service guidelines, escalates music-related DMCAs


Watching or broadcasting a stream that features Spotify or other music streaming services may become a thing of the past due to Twitch’s newly updated music Terms of Service. 

Based on an updated version of the music TOS guidelines that are already being put into effect, Twitch will start heavily enforcing copyright-related Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns and other actions against streamers who use music that they do not own the rights to. 

This includes DJs remixing music live, karaoke streams, cover songs, and more—though it is currently unclear what this means for anyone who is streaming a game like Beat Saber, Guitar Hero, or Just Dance, which uses dozens of famous songs 

“Twitch values the work of songwriters, musicians, and other creative artists,” Twitch’s Music Guideline page says. “As a company committed to supporting creators, we respect, and ask our users to respect, the intellectual property of those who make music and those who own or control music rights.”

Previously, the only thing a creator would need to look out for when using a streaming service like Spotify was their VODs being muted by Twitch’s automated content filtering system. But now streamers are going to be subject to takedown notices from various music groups and additional action from Twitch based on its Community Guidelines. 

We know that the new music TOS is already active because over the last week, dozens if not hundreds of streamers have received emails about clips being taken down due to a DMCA regarding unlicensed music. Some of those clips being removed date back to 2017, so this new addition to the automated content filtering system isn’t focusing on more recent pieces of content. 

There was no formal announcement made about any of these changes, and this can severely impact anyone’s channel without them even being aware of it. 

The basic situation breaks down to Twitch will now have to act when a DMCA is issued for music being used, labels will be enacting their ownership on Twitch content more frequently, and older content is not immune to being flagged—just like in YouTube’s current system. 

Any streamer who uses copyrighted music is at risk for DMCA takedowns or Twitch Community Guideline action such as suspensions, bans, channel termination, and, in some cases, legal action from music labels. Twitch is currently bigger than ever before, meaning companies are looking at how they can profit off of the content being produced by others and are also acting in the interest of protecting their intellectual properties. 

Expect a decrease in the amount of streamers who utilize Spotify, iTunes, and other music streaming services on stream. Instead, playlists of copyright-free music businesses who work in providing licensed music to streamers and content creators will see an uptick in use over the coming weeks as more people are impacted by these changes. 

For more information on the specific changes that have been made and how they will impact streamers, you can view the official Twitch guidelines page on the topic.

Update June 7 at 11:50pm CT: Twitch posted an update to its official support Twitter, saying the platform experienced a “sudden influx” of DMCA takedown requests and that this is the “first time” it has received mass DMCA claims against clips. Additionally, Twitch stated its guidelines for music have not changed and that it will continue to adhere to the DMCA.





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