8-Jun-2020 (Mon) Wherein DJs are no longer welcome on Twitch.

So, since none of the clubs are open, you figured you'd just DJ on Twitch, huh?

<Nelson-voice> "Haaa, ha."

Twitch streamers are getting blindsided by years-old copyright notices

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.

This is why we don't use Twitch, people.

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.

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.

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.

Tune in for tonight's Death Guild webcast: Our supply of Red Deaths has been replenished!

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.

Everything is terrible, is what I'm saying, and getting worse.

Anyway, are you looking to put together a streaming show? DNA Lounge has the facilities and infrastructure for it. Mail us at booking@dnalounge.com.

Our recently-upgraded webcast regime has been working out reasonably well, though I am continuously frustrated at how flaky OBS is. Sometimes it just decides to stop streaming the video's audio track until it is restarted, even though the audio is showing up on its in-app level meters. How very.

Maaaaaybe this is because the computers running it are a little underpowered. Do you have a Mac Mini lying around that you don't need any more? We can always give those a good home. For the webcast, a 2018-vintage Mini or two would be super helpful, but we can find a use for anything 2010 or later. We end up using them for all kinds of things.

18 Responses:

  1. Andrew says:

    Twitch is, of course, owned by Amazon. You can sign up for "Twitch Prime", whatever that is: https://twitch.amazon.com/tp

  2. John says:

    2012 Mac Mini, 2.6GHz quad core, 16GB RAM, 500G SSD. Would that be of use? (I upgraded to a 2018 with an eGPU.)

    • jwz says:

      That would only be a slight upgrade to one of the webcast machines, but it's certainly something we can use as a spare! A lighting controller or something.

  3. Dara says:

    Mac Minis are so great.

    I don't have much more than that, it's just that they're just so damned useful. Honestly one of the best computers Apple ever made. I just firmware-upgraded a 1,1 to think it's a 2,1 with 64-bit 2Ghz processor and 3G RAM and it's our media server now and I love it.

    • jwz says:

      Every rev is progressively harder to upgrade or repair (the later models have the RAM soldered to the board), but, yeah, they're still really useful even when they're over a decade old.

      • Austin says:

        The most recent revision (2018) no longer solders the RAM to the logic board, but it is not designated “user serviceable”. And the Thunderbolt 3 port allows expandability via things like overpriced external GPU enclosures. It is still a far cry from the serviceability of twist-off bottom models.

  4. Alius Ratio says:

    According to the ASCAP website Twitch streamers on licensed to live stream by ASCAP. I assume that means Twitch pays for a license.
    However they are not licensed to record or clip streams. That's what people are getting hit with DMCA's on.
    The consensus by the internet informed is until a lawyer type weighs in is to simple delete any existing clips and recordings and disable the ability to make more in your Twitch account.

    • jwz says:

      I repeat:

      Twitch's terms of service now explicitly exclude DJ sets, karaoke, lip-sync, and even cover songs.

      Whether they have an ASCAP license is irrelevant in the face of that simple fact.

      • Alius Ratio says:

        They always explicitly excluded DJ set's and such in the TOS. That has never changed.

  5. KSonney says:

    OBS is just flakey. I live-stream my chickens from sun up to sun down, and have some automation to restart OBS to refresh it's connections to the various cameras. Depending on the a/v source, audio will just drop in/out and the video sometimes freezes for no reason other than OBS isn't happy.

    Directly connected things appear to work significantly better than remote sources. But YMMV.

  6. Wichitastraw says:

    Um drop $799 on Wirecast and be done with OBS

    • Derpatron9000 says:

      The post mentions

      we used them as our video streaming host, because the price was right (free)

      And goes on to solicit hardware donations. On that basis spending almost $800 on software seems far off the mark.

      • jwz says:

        Well we're self-hosting video now, and I assure you, it's far from free. I don't object to paying for software if I see some evidence that it will actually solve the problems that I am having.

        But that, notably, is something that Wichitastraw's drive-by snipe did not provide.

  7. Nearscape says:

    @JWZ I got a spare Mac Mini for you (~4 years old but clean), I guess I'll e-mail the booking address with details?

  8. Benthom says:

    I've tried to RTFM on getting clear on licensing for webcasts, but keep hitting a wall. @jwz, could you share how you do it?

    For playing music in a club, you just pay ASCAP/BMI/SESAC and you're good. For cover songs on an album, there's a few web sites that'll take a small fee and do all the leg work per song.

    However, when looking a live streams there seemed to be a huge gulf of sync rights, ephemeral rights and tracking down all rights holder for every single song (lyrics/music/publisher/etc). That seems impossible when we'd want to stream bands and can't really control what they're going to play beforehand (nor would we want to).

    Most info sources fell into the camps of either 'it's impossible to get all the rights, you're screwed,' or discussing the technical way to do it with no mention of rights -- as in, they gave up and just decided to stream anyway.

    Is there any PRO where you just let give them the cash based on whatever criteria, and then you're covered?

    I couldn't find anything like that. It is all a maze of twisty little passages, all different.


    • Benthom says:

      I should clarify, that I'm hitting a wall with respect to video webcast of a band we have playing. Rights on pure audio webcasts seem much simpler.

      • jwz says:

        The general answer is... a lot of words, but in your case it's simple: if the band is performing their own music, then you only need permission from the rights holder of that band's music, which will be either the band, or their label.