"DMCA Bloodbath": Hundreds Of Twitch Streamers Hit With Copyright Strikes

In a major blow to online content makers, Twitch has begun to issue DMCA takedowns to “hundreds” of partnered streamer, according to Rod “Slasher” Breslau.

However, these copyright strikes are far more severe than ones seen on other platforms – not to mention more byzantine. Instead of informing streamers what content has been taken down, why it’s being taken down, or the process of determining what’s in violation of copyright, Twitch has unilaterally begun to pull the content altogether.

Streamer DizzyDizazter, whose channel was affected, tweeted that there was “zero information” as to what streams were being taken down, or for what reason. Worse yet, this applies to more than VODs – Twitch partner Trobsmonkey claimed that “record companies can issue strikes in live content even if you delete VODs.”

Unlike YouTube, however, streamers are given absolutely no way to make an appeal. The notice itself (shared on Twitter by several streamers) makes this explicitly clear.

We recognize that by deleting this content, we are not giving you the option to file a counter-notification or seek a retraction from the rights holder. In consideration of this, we have processed these notifications and are issuing you a one-time warning to give you the chance to learn about copyright law and the tools available to manage the content on your channel.

Also unlike YouTube, the content isn’t being flagged, muted, or targeted on an individual level. These are broad, sweeping strikes across the entire platform – strikes that take the content down at first blush, leaving some streamers with no archived copies of certain streamers. In terms of online media preservation, this is undeniable disaster.

Unfortunately, it’s a disaster that’s legally airtight, according to lawyer and Twitter personality Noah Downs. “These DMCA notices are legit and apply to your old content,” Downs tweeted. “I’ve received word that live takedowns may be implemented very soon – this is the beginning.

Downs went on to warn streamers that these takedowns may broader than they think. “And for what it’s worth, the DMCA is not just a tool for the music industry,” he stated. “A DMCA takedown notice can be sent for any copyrighted content – this includes music, art, video, games, etc. Protect yourself and your livelihood.”

It’s a bleak picture, to be sure, but an ultimately unsurprising one. As lawyer Ryan Morrison pointed out on Twitter, livestreaming has long since presented a major threat to copyright vultures and overzealous corporations. It’s still a historically recent phenomenon, especially in the eyes of older executives at media companies, and has enjoyed certain freedoms that other mediums don’t have. Unfortunately, that may very well be coming to an end.

The idea of corporate copyright in and of itself is silly, backwards, and ultimately evil. However, if you’re on Twitch, it’s one that you’re beholden to. That being said, there was a transparent way to roll these strikes out – a way that clearly explained the situation and didn’t run afoul of streamers.

Unfortunately, the kid gloves seem to have come off – and were perhaps never on to begin with.

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Bella Blondeau is a lovable miscreant with a heart of gold… or so she says.

She likes long walks in dingy arcades, loves horror good and bad, and has a passion for anime girls of any and all varieties. Her favorite game is Nier: Automata, because she loves both robots and being sad.

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