Takedown in Haste. Reinstate… Ever?

By Alan Ralph on June 10, 2020 — 2 mins read

So Jamie Zawinski recently posted Wherein DJs are no longer welcome on Twitch:

See, Twitch used to be called Justin.TV, and for several years we used them as our video streaming host, because the price was right (free). But then they “pivoted” their business from “stream anything” to “stream video games only” and became Twitch. And on the day they announced that, they shut down Justin.TV to anything that wasn’t gaming, leaving us and all of their other users in the lurch. Literally less than 24 hours notice.

I vaguely remember hearing about Justin.TV back in the way, but hadn’t realised they became Twitch.

Well, a few years later, they decided to expand from “only games” back to “pretty much anything”, and they came sniffing around DNA Lounge again. “Hey, we’d love to have your Compelling Content our our site. Of course we’re going to put pop-up ads all over your shit, and by the way, you can’t ever webcast a burlesque show, because we’re a Family Friendly Company.”

Photorealistic in-game murder, sure. A pastie? Hey now, think about the children.

Sigh. Quelle surprise! /sarcasm

Once again, rather than put a little time and energy into marking adult stuff as Adult and making sure children understand that, the go-to solution is to just dumb down everything so that nobody can be offended.

Twitch’s terms of service now explicitly exclude DJ sets, karaoke, lip-sync, and even cover songs. So that’s pretty much the end of that.

So Twitch was already not-to-be-trusted, for sure, but the real problem here is that the Content Mafia has bullied the tech industry (and by tech industry I mean Google, because nobody else matters) into making the process of asserting copyright infringement trivial, fast, and easy to automate; while making the process of making an appeal on the grounds of Fair Use, or any other reason, damned near impossible.

Jamie is referencing this article from The Verge:

The claimant was listed as the RIAA, and the infringing material was mostly recorded clips of old live broadcasts. And that’s a problem because it’s stated very clearly in the Twitch terms of service that if your account is dinged with three of these strikes, you get permabanned from Twitch.

The clips themselves were sometimes years old, too, which is a bigger headache because streamers who have been on the platform long enough have accumulated tons of these and now have a backlog rights holders can mine to file takedowns. Twitch doesn’t have the tools yet to let creators bulk delete clips, let alone sift through hundreds at a time that may or may not contain copyright infringing content.

Bonus Kicker (from the comments to Jamie’s post): Twitch is owned by Amazon.

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