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Twitch Just Threw All Of Its Streamers Under The Bus

Twitch and the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) just agreed on a new rule about copyrighted music. Basically, it's the same but different. Streamers will get more warning for violations instead of instant punishment, as they have in the past, but they still need to avoid streaming copyrighted songs without permission.

According to the Washington Post, Twitch described the agreement as a "more flexible and forgiving" process than the old one. It seems more lenient on streamers that "inadvertently or incidentally" play copyrighted music rather than ones that blatantly and unapologetically do. All DMCA violations previously subjected offenders to removed content and bans from the platform. Now, first-time offenders receive an actual warning if Twitch receives a valid DMCA request from a copyright holder.

Twitch mentioned that repeat rule-breakers would likely receive more severe punishments, just like those in the old rules. They also might receive bans and have their VODs with the licensed music removed from their channel. Major offenses, such as streaming a live concert, might also warrant harsher treatment.

"We recognize that not all unauthorized uses of music merit the same treatment and it is our hope that we can, as part of our agreements with music rights holders, take a balanced approach that supports creators on Twitch," Twitch wrote in its email to streamers (via The Washington Post).

Twitch's new agreement is technically better, but not by much

Twitch and the NMPA's new rule seems like a plus for streamers, since they will receive warnings before any explicit punishment. However, it's a small consolation considering that streamers have been furious about DMCA takedowns for a while, and Twitch hasn't made it any easier to stream licensed music. 

"Twitch's crackdown on licensed music was done to protect Amazon's service as a platform," wrote Kotaku's Luke Plunkett, "and so this deal was never going to be about making things easier for users to play licensed music since it was primarily made to cover Twitch[]."

So Twitch's new agreement won't necessarily make it easier for streamers to avoid DMCA violations. However, some developers have added streamer modes to their games with varying degrees of success. These special settings allow users to replace or mute licensed tracks. CD Projekt Red's "Cyberpunk 2077" helps streamers avoid DMCA takedowns with its streamer mode, and so does Eidos Montreal in its "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy." "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy" might sound weird without its iconic music blasting on stream, but it guards streamers against possible violations.