Twitch has become a very popular streaming platform these days with millions of streams and several million hours of content streamed every day. Yeah.. that makes it a pretty big platform. Twitch has a huge stock of diverse content and a large and devoted viewer base. And you can say that somehow it is in competition with Youtube.
And this competition with Youtube is a bit more pronounced in recent days. A new trend has emerged among content creators on Twitch and they can be often seen watching Youtube videos of other content creators in their own streams on Twitch. Yes.. your favourite entertainers on Twitch are sitting back and watching others’ YouTube videos while simultaneously garnering hundreds of views in the process. In fact, it has gotten increasingly popular on Twitch to react to other people’s videos and viewers also appear to like such streams.
But putting the popularity aside, is it right to stream somebody else’s content? And doesn’t it infringe on the copyright protection of content creators on youtube? Keep reading as we discuss these issues in this article.
Copyright Protection on Youtube and Twitch:
YouTubers upload a variety of content on youtube. And they put a lot of effort in creating that content. They obviously don’t want anybody to steal their content and make easy money using their content. That’s why they have copyright protection on youtube. Youtube penalises anybody on their platform whenever they violate copyrights by stealing somebody else’s content without their prior consent. And the same is the case with Twitch. Twitch also has copyright rules in place and can penalise the person violating them.
But does that make streaming other people’s youtube videos illegal? Let’s find out
Streaming Youtube Videos on Twitch
It is the individual who created the YouTube video and then published it to YouTube who has copyright protection for it. You will be violating the rule if you broadcast YouTube videos without first obtaining permission from the appropriate copyright owner. Additionally, according to Twitch’s rules, you are not permitted to broadcast YouTube videos that were created by someone else.
However, if you follow some basic guidelines, it is unlikely that Twitch will pull your stream down for copyright violations. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.
Most YouTubers often don’t hate the increased fame and recognition they can receive if you stream their videos. Especially if you are not utilising their video to criticise or make a mockery of their videos in an unethical manner.
So yes, generally you can broadcast other people’s YouTube content on your Twitch feeds, particularly if you provide commentary or provide value to that content in some way. In such cases, it can also be considered fair use.
What About Streaming Other Types of Content?
Apart from youtube videos, creators on Twitch also watch various other types of content on their stream. And rules can be different in different cases. So let’s find out about them.
1. Music videos
The rules surrounding copyright protection of music tracks are rather strict. You may be using any type of music, but if you don’t have the proper licence then you may be in trouble.
It makes no difference whether you want to review a music video in your stream or simply listen to a music track in the background while playing games or doing something else in your streams. The use of copyrighted music on Twitch is subject to an audio censoring system, which means that any portions of your stream that contain copyrighted music will get automatically muted if found out. And repeated offences will result in your channel being penalised as a result of the use of copied material. You may also be punished with a DMCA strike and maybe with a ban on your channel.
That’s why it’s better to refrain from playing any music that you do not own a licence to.
2. Movies And TV Shows
A movie, an anime series, or a television show are all owned by the respective companies or studios that produce them. And any of this is not an exception to the copyright rules. Because doing so would constitute openly utilising a Twitch stream to showcase the content of somebody else. If you are caught streaming such content, you may receive a DMCA strike, which may result in your channel being suspended either temporarily or permanently, depending on the circumstances.
As previously stated, the only two alternative cases in which you can get ahead with such restrictions are if you can justify your case as fair use or if you use a material that is in the public domain and is available freely for viewers. The most notable example would be when Netflix permitted the first episode of their hit series Arcane to be streamed freely. In that case, many Twitch streamers were able to share their reactions with their viewers in real time during the broadcast.
Streaming sports on Twitch has become popular among fans of both traditional and online sports. While the NFL and NBA are subject to licensing restrictions, other sports can be streamed live on the website. Some sports are only allowed for specific categories, though, including pick-up basketball with your friends. Twitch is even dedicated to specific sports. There are channels devoted to college basketball games, local sports played by your friends, and sports analysis. The site does enforce some rules for content, including no smoking or drinking, and no cursing.
The numbers are impressive. For instance, Twitch has 31,000 subscribers for its channel switch sports. In addition, the site has featured many popular sports events on TV. During the lockdown, the Korean Baseball League set a record for the number of Twitch viewers. The lockdown, which was caused by the coronavirus, had a major role in the growth of sports on Twitch. Many athletes streamed their matches and fans got to know them better during the broadcasts.