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Twitch cuts deal with NMPA to better manage copyright violations

Twitch has struck a new deal with the National Music Publishers' Association to better manage unauthorized music being played on Twitch streams.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

September 21, 2021

2 Min Read
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Twitch has struck a new deal with the National Music Publishers' Association to better manage unauthorized music being played on Twitch streams.

The live-streaming service notified users today about the terms of the deal, which creates a new opt-in copyright warning system for participating music rights holders.

This system works separately from--but still in the spirit of--the DMCA violations system that has caused headaches on Twitch for the last year and beyond. Music rights holders can now flag unauthorized music streams on Twitch, and in response, Twitch will flag those channels with "warnings" instead of DMCA penalties. The process is meant to be used on "flagrant uses of music."

That's the one bit of good news for Twitch streamers--that in response to a violation, they won't receive a DMCA penalty at first when a video is flagged. But the downside is that with the warning will be accompanied by an immediate removal of any archived videos or clips that contain the unauthorized music.

Twitch will also issue harsher penalties if the flagrant music use falls into a specific subcategory (rebroadcast concerts, broadcasting pre-release tracks, etc.).

At this time Twitch doesn't have a process for contesting these warnings, unlike the DMCA process which explicitly includes a process to appeal alleged violations.

This agreement is great news for Twitch, which as Variety notes, has been facing the rancor of the NMPA for some time now for the unauthorized music broadcasts. A process for NMPA members to more quickly to remove unauthorized uploads of their music helps Twitch look less like it's violating copyright law on a regular basis.

It's uncertain yet if this will help out Twitch streamers who've been seeing years worth of archived videos get pulled down due to older clips containing snippets of licensed music--or in one specific example, the sound of a gust of wind that played in World of Warcraft.

A weird outcome of this status quo has been developers introducing "streamer modes" which mute or replace licensed music in their games when turned on. It's made for some occasionally awkward moments.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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