With the presence of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), both amateur and major streamers are not excused from following copyright laws.
When it comes to the Twitch and DMCA strikes, there is a little confusion on what this means for smaller streamers in particular. So, can you play copyrighted music on Twitch? In this article, we’ll be taking a look at exactly that!
What is DMCA?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act falls under the USA Copyright Law however it is recognized and used in all other parts of the world. DMCA was created to formalize the due process of taking down content with copyrighted materials on the internet.
The process of removing content with copyright infringement is called DMCA Takedown. Copyright owners can send DMCA takedown requests when their work is used without the appropriate rights.
Now, if a content creator uses copyrighted material, they will receive a DMCA notice. This is basically a DMCA takedown notification that allows the person or company to take down the content because it’s violating copyright law.
Will Twitch DMCA Small Streamers?
Yes, Twitch will enforce a DMCA takedown request even if you are a small streamer. Live streams that break the law and play copyrighted music without permission through the proper channels will face consequences.
The most common copyright strike for a Twitch stream is playing copyrighted music. To avoid this, streamers need to play royalty-free music on Twitch streams. This way you won’t get a DMCA notification and you’ll be able to keep your channel on the streaming platform.
Can Small Streamers Use Copyrighted Music?
In short, no. Regardless of whether you are a small streamer or a popular one, action will be taken against you if you use copyrighted music. Though smaller streamers may seem to slip under the radar, it is against Twitch’s terms of service to use copyrighted content anywhere on your channel.
According to the community guidelines, examples of content you must not share include:
- Other Twitch creators’ content
- Pirated games or content from unauthorized private servers
- Content from other sites
- Movies, television shows, or sports matches
- The music you do not own or do not have the right to share
What Music is Allowed on Twitch?
You may be scared to add music to your songs because of these copyright laws. But you shouldn’t. Music can help liven up your stream and make it more engaging and interesting. There are still ways you can incorporate recorded music into your live streams.
So, what music recordings can you use on Twitch? Here is music content that can you in a live stream:
- Music owned by you
- Music licensed by you
- Music streamed from Soundtrack by Twitch
What Music is Not Allowed on Twitch?
A Twitch streamer is not allowed to play unlicensed music in any of the following ways below:
- Radio-style music listening – when you play recorded music on Twitch
- Mixing pre-recorded music tracks
- Karaoke-style – singing to a Karaoke soundtrack
- Displaying or showing the lyrics of a song
Do note that if you do own or have the music license of the recorded, pre-recorded, and karaoke soundtrack, it can be played live on Twitch.
How Do DMCA Strikes Work?
A DMCA strike is a penalty system used by online services, such as Youtube and Twitch, against violators of copyrights. Violators will not be banned on their first violation, Twitch for example allows 3 strikes, though if you have received a DMCA strike you must go through the process of taking down the content that has been flagged.
‘But what about fair use?’ What about it? For those of you who are not aware, fair use is your defense if the content you have used is for a limited time and used in a ‘transformative’ way, such as a spoof or parody.
However, as I’ve said above, fair use is only your defense… Meaning you must have already received a DMCA strike or takedown notice before defending its use. Most smaller streamers will not have the capital or experience to build a case for fair use, so it’s probably best to stay away from it.
Where to Get Background Music
With the recent outbursts of DMCA strikes, especially on Twitch, there are now more royalty-free music sites and playlists than ever before. A few of the sites are as follows:
1. Epidemic Sound
You can get a 30-day free trial with the royalty-free music licensing service, Epidemic Sound. A membership with Epidemic Sound will give you access to over 30,000 songs and 60,000 sound effects.
Even Twitch partner Harris Heller has taken advantage of the need for ‘streamable’ music with his huge library of copyright-free music known as StreamBeats.
The internet is full of copyright-free music available for instant use. There is no need to take the risk of getting DMCA strikes, no matter how big or small your channel is.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Play Spotify Music on Twitch?
Another common issue is playing music from music streaming services. New streamers may not be aware that playing music content from Spotify can get you into trouble. Spotify music is for personal use only. Playing Spotify music in the background of your streams is considered playing copyrighted music.
Will You Get Copyrighted for a Cover Song?
According to Twitch music rules, you can cover songs when live streaming. However, everything from your song cover must be originally made by you. Using any type of recording or incorporating instrumental tracks that you do not own or did not create yourself is not allowed.
At the end of the day, live Twitch broadcasts should follow both Twitch music rules and copyright laws. There are plenty of websites that offer royalty-free music from participating music rights holders. As streamers, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are playing licensed or royalty-free music on your stream.