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How Music, Not Gaming Might End the Reign of Twitch by Ari F.

Over the past few years, Twitch has grown massively and is now the biggest streaming platform in the world. Anyone can start streaming and even make a career out of it. Music can be important while streaming, as it sets the mood and makes the stream more enjoyable. Twitch rules state that you can't use copyrighted music, but many streamers didn’t listen, as there was never a punishment. Record labels haven’t cared, until now.

Over the past months, record labels, such as Warner Music, have taken action against streamers, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as justification. The DMCA is a set of laws that allow anyone to create and share content on digital service providers, for example Twitch. This act was intended to protect copyrighted material on the internet. Since there haven't been consequences for violating Twitch rules on playing copyrighted music during streams, big record labels have finally come forward and started holding streamers accountable. These companies are going back into many streamers' old videos and clips and submitting thousands of claims a week.


Twitch has had a strike system to warn streamers but has never invoked it based on DMCA rules. After three strikes, streamers' channels are deleted. They lose all their followers and all their content. Now, however, popular streamers have been given multiple strikes, and now they are worried for their career. This year, Twitch grew massively because of the pandemic, and record labels are now seeing the money-making potential in Twitch. Streamers have finally listened, fearing that all they have worked for can vanish in a single click. Twitch released ways to prevent more strikes but at a cost. With record labels going deep into the archives of Twitch, streamers' only option is to delete all of their clips and Videos on Demand (VODs).


Twitch is not the only streaming service that has been affected by copyright claims and the DMCA. YouTube has also had some issues with music copyright, so they created Content ID, which is a system that alerts copyright owners immediately if any YouTube video includes content they own. The system also notifies the video creators if their content could warrant a copyright claim. This was YouTube's ultimate solution to the DMCA. As a result, YouTube never had to deal with the DMCA claims and lawsuits ever again, giving them an advantage over other services.


Will this smart invention by YouTube turn out to be their saving grace in the long run? Will it bring in more creators who don’t want to worry about their accounts every time they go on the internet? Will Twitch somehow find a way out of the DMCA mess, or is Twitch “game over”?

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