Over a year after the initial debate began, Twitch finally came to an agreement with the NMPA. But even after the deal, streamers will not be allowed to play licensed music while streaming. Thousands of DMCA copyright strikes have been issued to streamers in the last year, resulting in the removal of any videos containing copyrighted songs.
“As part of this agreement, we want to let you know about a new process that we are creating that participating music rights holders can opt into to report certain uses of their music, which is more flexible and forgiving to creators who inadvertently or incidentally use music in their streams than the existing process required under the DMCA and similar global laws,” Twitch wrote in an email to its users.
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“This new process does not change how music can be used on Twitch," the email continues. "As we’ve said consistently, it’s never okay to include music in your channel unless you’ve secured the necessary rights or have the authority to do so.”
In essence, the deal alleviates some of the stress for streamers, who will now be warned before receiving DMCA copyright strikes on videos containing copyrighted music. A relatively loose definition of “going-forward flagrant uses of music” gives Twitch the power to determine if streamers are repeat or blatant offenders of the music policy, so Twitch can opt to penalize them “depending on the creator’s history of that kind of music use."
Streamers are unhappy with the deal, with many claiming that it only helps Twitch in the long run instead of its users. While the agreement deescalates some of the tension between the streaming platform and the music industry, streamers still feel there's a long way to go.
"No rights have been secured, you still can’t listen to music without a license," tweeted Harris Heller, creator of StreamBeats, a copyright-free music collection for streamers. "Make sure you protect yourself and only listen to safe music."