Kevin Martin starts a fight with Twitch after "safe" music used on stream

Jon Pill
Posted on: June 07, 2021 13:02 PDT

Twitch has run into problems with poker streamers again, after Kevin Martin had his channel flagged for DMCA violations despite using music that Twitch had marked as "safe" for streaming.

Martin tweeted on Friday that "with no warning [his] @Twitch account has been threatened with termination for using a song/product Twitch gave to streamers and advertised as safe."

And he got in trouble without once threatening anyone's dental or rectal integrity.

Martin had used music from Twitch's Soundtrack product in his streams, but still got a DMCA notice. Luckily other members of poker Twitch were able to clarify what had happened.

Soundtrack is supposed to provide streamers with music that will not be in violation of the DMCA. In this case, however, the music was only licensed for streaming, not for the clips and VODs that Martin created from those streams. As a result, Martin received the DMCA warning.

Jaime Staples explained all this.

"Twitch soundtrack is only copyright cleared for live performances not vods and videos," wrote Stapes. "It says that as well when you download and via lots of partner emails."

When used correctly, Soundtrack has an option to strip the music track out of any VODs and clips produced from a stream. Martin had not set his Soundtrack up properly. As a result, he had produced a series of videos on his channel that were rightly flagged as breaching copyright.

DMCA's second strike

This is not the first time that poker Twitch streamers have had a nasty shock of this kind. Last year, Twitch ended up gutting poker streamers back catalogs. That time around it was because streamers had used copyrighted music in their streams.

This breach of copyright had been allowed to pass for so long without enforcement that it had become pretty much a default for many streamers. When the record companies filed DMCA notices en masse, Twitch suffered such an enormous administrative burden that it had no choice but to drop the hammer.

Streamers lost hundreds of hours of content overnight.

Though Twitch did its best to fix the issue. The scale of the problem led to widespread criticism. The platform was forced to apologize and drastically change up their policies to prevent a similar event from hitting the poker Twitch community again.

Some people view the current situation as a result of one of Twitch's fixes. Twitch created the Soundtrack service to provide music that was considered safe from a copyright standpoint. However, the ambiguities in what "safe from a copyright standpoint" meant in practice ended up being the issue.

Video game streamer Gothalion acknowledged that the problem wasn't all Twitch's fault, but added: "The waters are so muddied. Even with FBs deals with the music industry, I’ve had my stream turned off for music in Fallout."

Poor communication on Twitch's part compounded a severe lack of common sense on the creator's part, and here we are: deja vu, all over again.

Featured image source: Flickr by Kalvin Chan