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Twitch admits they botched it

Last month, Twitch sent out emails to several streamers that contained an ominous warning. The email told these streamers that their content had been flagged for DMCA copyright violations, and that they needed to remove the offending clips to avoid repercussions. Unfortunately, none of these emails specified which videos were causing the problems, which resulted in some high profile streamers like Lirik and Pokimane going back and deleting nearly all of their VODs. Lirik in particular was devastated to have to delete nearly a decade of his saved streams. Now Twitch has apologized to fans and creators for its lack of transparency and options in this situation.

In a new blog post, Twitch explained that a rising number of DMCA notifications caused the company to take drastic action. "Until May of this year, streamers received fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year on Twitch," the blog post explained. "Beginning in May, however, representatives for the major record labels started sending thousands of DMCA notifications each week that targeted creators' archives, mostly for snippets of tracks in years-old Clips."

According to Twitch, an ensuing internal investigation revealed that roughly 99 percent of all of the videos receiving strikes featured copyrighted music being played in the background of a stream. This resulted in Twitch essentially rolling out a scorched earth policy for music played on the service.

Of course, Twitch has also conceded that older clips aren't necessarily indicative of how a content creator currently approaches copyrighted material, and the platform didn't want to punish streamers for older content that was not representative of their new output. To that end, Twitch paused all copy strikes and sent out the original email that stirred up so much controversy. Now, Twitch admits, "we should have made that warning email a lot more informative and helpful."

A large source of frustration among Twitch streamers was a lack of clarification regarding which videos were causing issues. Twitch's only response at the time was to offer streamers an option to delete multiple older videos at a time. In the new blog post, Twitch copped to this being an unfair solution to present its streamers.

Twitch continued, "One of the mistakes we made was not building adequate tools to allow creators to manage their own VOD and Clip libraries. You're rightly upset that the only option we provided was a mass deletion tool for Clips, and that we gave you three-days notice to use this tool."

To that end, Twitch has promised to provide creators with more tools to help them not only easily detect DMCA violations, but also to make excising the offending clips a much easier proposition. In addition, Twitch is in talks with several major music publishing companies about allowing more licensed music on the platform. In the meantime, Twitch has pointed creators to its Soundtrack tool, which will allow streamers to play pre-approved tracks in their feeds without receiving a strike.

While this has been a highly frustrating experience for streamers and their fans, it's heartening to see Twitch owning its mistakes and attempting to give more power to its streamers. Maybe the company can also address those weird ad blocker PSAs that are rubbing people the wrong way.