New Year, Same You: Twitch Releases Tools To Help Creators Avoid Copyright Strikes, Can't Properly Police Abuse

from the getting-twitchy dept

Readers here will remember that the last quarter of 2020 was a very, very bad time for streaming platform Twitch. It all started when the RIAA came calling on the Amazon-owned platform, issuing a slew of DMCA takedown notices over all sorts of music included in the recorded streams of creators. Instead of simply taking the content down and issuing a notice to creators, Twitch simply perma-deleted the content in question, with no recourse for a counternotice given to creators as an option. After an explosive backlash, Twitch apologized, but still didn't offer any clarity or tools for creators to understand what might be infringing content and what was being targeted. Instead, during its remote convention, Twitch only promised more information and tools in the coming months.

Five months later, Twitch has finally informed its creators of the progress its made on that front: tools on the site to help creators remove material flagged as infringement and some more clarity on what is infringing.

Twitch announced in an email to streamers that the site has added new tools today to help creators see where they stand with takedown requests and copyright strikes. Twitch also added tools to let streamers mass delete their recorded streams. It’s a smart move because it gives streamers better tools to play on the right side of copyright law. (If you don’t, and you rack up enough copyright strikes, you get permabanned.)

Now, in the event that a streamer gets hit with a DMCA takedown request, it’ll show up in their on-site inbox; Twitch’s video producer will also show the number of copyright strikes a channel has received. In addition, streamers can now unpublish or delete all their VODs at once (or in batches of 20 at a time).

It's not that Twitch's new tool is a bad thing. More clarity for creators and an increased ability to granularly address DMCA notices for their content is a decidedly good thing. But it all feels both extremely late in coming because, obviously, Twitch should have known that DMCA notices on creators from the copyright industries would be a thing.

But if you're looking for encouraging signs that Twitch is getting its shit together in policing its own site, you certainly won't find it in the story of how one creator got one of his accounts banned for an account name that was "harassment via username." The user he's accused of harassing would appear to be... himself.

It might be an understatement to say that popular Minecraft YouTuber and streamer George “GeorgeNotFound’’ Davidson had a weird weekend. Within two days, he got banned from Twitch, possibly un-banned, definitely banned again, and unbanned (again?). Why? “Harassment via username,” according to Twitch. Problem is, the only person he could have possibly been harassing was himself.

The new, different ban email from Twitch accused him of “harassment via username” and once again informed him that the suspension was indefinite—aka, a ban. This one also further elaborated on what exactly he might have done, without telling him exactly what he definitely did. Examples included “having a username that explicitly insults another user,” “having a username that threatens negative action towards another user,” and “having a username that promotes self-harm in conjunction with malicious chat activity, such as telling another user to kill themselves.”

Obviously, "ThisIsNotGeorgeNotFound" does not do any of those things. And, yet, his account was banned for a second time. He has since had the account unbanned. Which, fine, but what the hell is going on at Twitch that it never seems to get any of this right? And if the platform can't be trusted to do something as relatively simple as properly policing creators' handles, why would anyone have any confidence that it's going to navigate waters as treacherous as the Copyright Seas any better?

Look, Twitch grew up fast. And nobody expects any growing platform to be perfect from the get go. But with the backing of a parent company like Amazon, it certainly should be able to do better by its creators than this.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, streaming
Companies: amazon, twitch


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2021 @ 8:46pm

    I'm guessing some pearl clutcher thought his name was a reference to George Floyd.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 1:09am

    Well they can't get everything right, but hey they did manage to mute Metallica so there is that.

    Ahh a young platform now discovering what all the older platforms already knew... people will misuse your systems, prepare for it.

    Reviewers who are given iron clad paths that can not be deviated from even in the face of clear absurdity, in 2 seconds or less.

    The belief that the rules are always right even when they are wrong, we will defend to the end the decisions as we drive people off the platform.

    Its still sad that even Amazon just fell into line & offered no pushback against the broken DMCA system that punishes alleged violators & gives a pass when the allegations are false.

    The cartels talk about the loss of imaginary dollars that they estimate, perhaps it is time for the platforms to show how much money they actually lose dealing with bogus notices & extra costs in having to deal with angry users who don't understand the law incentives immediate action over any review.

    Hell given the sheer number of bogus submissions to Google (which isn't a valid target according to the law) if they got a $1 for every bogus notice they could exit advertising and triple profits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 2:20am

      Re:

      Charging $1 per notice would be useful to cut down on the frivolous procedurally generated DMCA spam. I'd support it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re:

        Sites cannot charge for processing takedown notices (or really do anything to check or delay them) as doing so means they lose their DMCA Safe Harbours and instead become directly liable for the content.

        The DMCA was designed (because it was written by the RIAA/MPAA) to make sites blindly follow takedown notices if they didn't want to be liable for the content, instead uploaders have to issue counter-notices, the only protection against false takedowns was that the copyright owner was supposed to claim on the penalty of prejury that the takedown was valid, however the courts made it pretty much impossible to prove a takedown was submitted in bad faith and even if you can win a bad faith claim the damages you get from the court are lucky to cover your legal fees.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 10:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That raises the interesting (at least to me) question of automatic counter-notices, say by checking an account option or something similar.

          Being as I am very much not a lawyer, would that be a possible resolution? I imagine it could be restricted to some subset of users, maybe paid or verified or such, to reduce the "bad-faith" counter-notice problem, but I'm not sure how much of an issue that would be anyway.

          Yeah, this is a technical/engineering solution to a legal problem, but still...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 9:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Automatic Counter-Notices are a bad idea because that opens you the uploader up to legal liability.

            After a Counter-Notice has been sent the Righsholder has 14 (?) days to either release their claim and after that time your content will be re-enabled or they still think they have claim and will sue you.

            Fighting in the US courts is not only expensive it's stressful and all consuming.

            Which is why most users don't even bother filing counter-notices after getting a false takedown because it's just not worth the risk, especially against the music industry who like to win court cases by bankrupting the defendant.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 1:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Assuming I'm not getting my laws mixed up doesn't filing a counter-notice also require you to dox yourself by providing your contact information? If so that would be another reason that an automatic counter-notice system would be a bad idea, as I could see some really unpleasant characters abusing the hell out of that system to go fishing for personal information.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 8:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You are correct sir!
                You win the bubblegum cigar!

                There have already been very unpleasant people who have abused the DMCA notice system in this fashion to obtain real world names & addresses so they are able to stalk and harass their targets IRL.

                But to protect those poor poor billion dollar companies, who claim they are losing billions while they were banking record profits its just a small price people have to pay.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 2:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They might not be able to charge for them but unless the law specifically lists that sites have to accept DMCA claims in a certain fashion it seems they could still punish those that file bogus claims, say by barring them from electronic submissions and requiring a physical DMCA claim to be sent via the mail.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 10:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sites have to register a designated agent to obtain Safe Harbour protection, and one of the things they need to supply is an email contact address for notices to go to.

            So requiring takedown notices to be posted will cause you to lose your Safe Harbour protection.

            And as the ISPs found in the cases against the music industry passing judgement on the notices also loses you your safe harbour protection - The ISPs rejected the Rightscorp emails as they didn't contain the proscribed terms in their opinion but the courts rejected that defence. (I'm also pretty sure there was an old case where a site also got into trouble when notices were accidentally flagged as Spam and thus were never seen by anyone in the company).

            Also platforms are required to act 'expeditiously' after receiving a notice so any attempt at artificially delaying responding can lose you your safe harbour.

            The DMCA is written to ensure that sites have to pass on the notices if they want to keep their safe harbour defence, the sites aren't supposed to judge the notices until the DMCA.

            The courts are the ones that are supposed to punish agents that send bogus claims, however they have made it nearly impossible to prove a claim was bogus.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 1:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Disappointing but not terribly surprising given copyright law is entirely stacked in favor of those making the accusations with little if any thought given to those on the receiving end.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 9:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Some of the Rightscorp notices (and smaller players) notices were rejected because they were nothing but cash demands.

              An insane Judge felt that yes the ISP was courting pirates because they dared to advertise high speed internet & the only people who use high speed internet are pirates. (rolls his eyes)

              There was a smaller letter sender who literally sent an email every few seconds for the same file, so it looked like that users was a huge pirate... who might have only ever broken copyright once to obtain 1 music file... but 200 notices should terminate your account, proven or not.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 8:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Something something DMCA notices are to be sent to the host of the allegedly infringing content, not the search index provider.
          No where does it say that Google has to do anything unless the content is hosted on a domain they control.

          It was easier for Google to just give in, multiple times, to avoid the ire of cartels who face no legal downside to lying.
          I mean its not like the they threatened to sue the Lumin Database, claiming it would let people find already taken down content (which was never taken down as t DMCA notice was never sent to the actual host as required by the law) not to mention it was easy to see the millions of defective notices that flood Google.

          I could send a DMCA notice to Mike over something on some 4th party site, and sadly the courts might rule that he should have taken it down because a majority of them have no idea what the internet is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 3:09am

    Handles

    obiwan.gif

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 7:52am

    My view as a Musician and a © holder.

    Twitch's way of dealing with copyright strikes by the RIAA is terrible. At least with YouTube and their ContentID system, the copyrighted material is kept up but monetized with advertisements and attribution to the artist, track, and various different rights agencies. It boggles my mind why Amazon couldn't have done something similar and paid via advertising after the fact. While it is true that ContentID is extremely imperfect (just ask my good friend (really, he is a good friend of mine!) Dr. Sebastian "littlescale" Tomczak, who got dinged for © infringement for having a similar-sounding white noise as someone else despite it not being copyrightable), leaving the track up while being subsidized by advertisements seems to be the most utilitarian solution offered by ©, and if © is supposed to be anything, it's supposed to be utilitarian (which far too many maximalists ignore, forget, or (most probably) just lie about).

    Amazon taking down tracks in a blanket fashion just pleases nobody but the RIAA and their lawyers and bootlicking politicians. I mean, if Google–a company with the similar size to Amazon–could make it work, then why not Amazon? I really hope Amazon comes up with something similar so artists, labels, streamers, Amazon, advertisers, and stream-viewers could all benefit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 8:42am

      Re: My view as a Musician and a © holder.

      "...if © is supposed to be anything, it's supposed to be utilitarian (which far too many maximalists ignore, forget, or (most probably) just lie about). "

      Who ever told you this has a shaky grasp of the reality of the situation. Copyright has not, since it's original english inception, been intended to be utilitarian. No more than the original *Red Flag Act was.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Pettitt (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 8:18am

    Scunthorp problem?

    I wonder if "thISISgeorgenotfound" is triggering a particularly bad filter that is assuming he's a terrorist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      N. 'Duke' Orse, 24 Mar 2021 @ 9:46am

      Re: Scunthorp problem? -- No, ZOMBIE problem!

      Knew didn't recognize "John Pettitt". That's because RARE to start, 26 comments in nearing TEN years, with a FOUR YEAR GAP. But now with a few dull articles and few comments on waning site, again interested! AMAZING anywhere but Techdirt, where it's routine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: Scunthorp problem? -- No, ZOMBIE problem!

        The real gap is the one between your ears, Brainless Smurf.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re: Scunthorp problem? -- No, ZOMBIE problem!

        Why do you care about how often someone has posted? Some people have lives outside of techdirt, but it's not like you have any idea of what that's like…

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re: Scunthorp problem? -- No, ZOMBIE problem!

        You're a sick fuck, you know that, right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 24 Mar 2021 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: Scunthorp problem? -- No, ZOMBIE problem!

        Knew didn't recognize "John Pettitt". That's because RARE to start, 26 comments in nearing TEN years, with a FOUR YEAR GAP. But now with a few dull articles and few comments on waning site, again interested! AMAZING anywhere but Techdirt, where it's routine.

        Please do present your study into this with numbers, graphs and facts on how this doesn't happen at other sites. Or perhaps, as with a lot of your other arguments, is that you suffer from a bad case of confirmation bias since threading outside your myopic worldview must scare the shit out of you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 2:55pm

      Re: Scunthorp problem?

      That would still be stupid but it would at least make more sense than claiming that he was harassing himself, which is what they accused him of.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 3:19pm

    Bizarre twitch bans

    The only two people I’ve watched on Twitch were both banned indefinitely and never received an explanation of what rule they broke or what the offending behavior was. They both did normal stream things. Just totally inexplicable.

    One of the streamers has received several bans that were issued in error in the past. Twitch has screwed him over so many times, he went out and got a job because he can no longer depend on the $50k to $70k he would make from streaming each year.

    I think they don’t want to actually hire enough employees to enforce the rules they set up, so mistakes happen constantly and bogus bans take months to be reviewed and reversed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 24 Mar 2021 @ 4:27pm

      Re: Bizarre twitch bans

      Do you have the names of these streamers?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 8:36pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre twitch bans

        One is Hyphonix, the other who has received several false bans is Wesbtw. One theory is that Twitch wants to reduce the amount of gambling shown on their site despite it not being against the rules, and those two are both degenerate gamblers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    innomatics90 (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 2:18am

    Data Science Course in Hyderabad

    Thank you for this article. Its really awesome
    https://www.innomatics.in/advanced-data-science-training-in-hyderabad/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.