Twitch has been hit by a wave of copyright claims over old clips

(Image credit: Twitch)

Twitch has been sending out a lot of emails alleging copyright infringement recently, leading to streamers frantically trying to figure out how to delete potentially thousands of clips and countless hours of work and memorable moments. 

Clips from 2017-2019 have been targeted specifically, but due to Twitch's lax enforcement of its own music guidelines, some streamers have racked up a huge library of videos that contain copyrighted music and deleting it isn't a straightforward process. 

Fusilie received two copyright strikes on June 7, and a third would have netted her a permaban. With over 100,000 clips, finding and deleting other clips with copyrighted music sounds like an impossible task, and Twitch advised her to just delete her entire library. Unfortunately, that's just as big a challenge, as she can't even see her old clips. 

This isn't an isolated case. Even though streamers are trying to protect themselves by proactively deleting clips, Twitch is throwing obstacles in their way. Twitch has said that it's working to make the process of deleting clip archives easier, but it's not provided an alternative yet. 

While it's working on it, streamers are being threatened with bans and suspensions, so this doesn't seem like something people can really wait on. A better process should have already been in place before something like this happened. 

Twitch is legally obligated to act on copyright claims, but some streamers have been critical over how it's handling it. Previously, Twitch muted audio that was flagged by its content filtering system, protecting both the music's copyright and the streamer, but now it's removing clips and doling out strikes.  

Twitch advises streamers to refer to the music guidelines, though much of what is prohibited occurs regularly and goes largely ignored. It doesn't address games that use licensed music, either, leaving streamers wondering what's going to happen to games like Just Dance.

Licenses also change. Games don't always get permanent rights to music, leading to updates removing songs or games even being removed from sale. So even if streamers are free to play something like GTA 5, what's protecting them if Rockstar loses the rights to a track that features in one of their clips? 

It's not clear what prompted this glut of copyright claims, but if this is something that's going to happen more frequently, Twitch is going to have to start clarifying a few things in its guidelines.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.