Penalties for Copyright Infringement and DMCA Violations
Copyright law is a very important topic to consider as a streamer or content creator because the penalties for copyright infringement can be very severe. Repeated infringement can result in a ban from the platforms you stream or post on. As a streamer or content creator, your brand is your most important asset. You have taken the time to set up your various social media profiles with your logos and carefully chosen usernames and you now need to grow and protect the brand. The last thing you want is to lose access to your accounts, so you need to be very careful when navigating potential copyright issues. The most common copyright issues occur when including music in your streams or content.
We have already gone over copyright and the DMCA in our previous blog post, "An Overview of the DMCA", so we will not cover that again in this article. But as a quick refresher, here was the key takeaway: you cannot use someone else’s music in your streams or content without their permission, and if you do, you face a wide range of potential penalties.
Every major platform for streaming and video has an algorithm that constantly scans its catalog of videos, checking whether it contains someone else’s music. An example of an algorithm is YouTube’s Content ID. If someone else’s music is found by Content ID (or if the copyright holder themselves happen to come across the video and issues a DMCA takedown), the resulting penalty depends on a few factors. If it is your first infringement, certain platforms, such as Facebook, may mute the portion of audio containing the song, and leave the rest of the video unmuted. Other platforms such as YouTube and Twitch will typically issue you a copyright infringement notice or DMCA takedown and force you to take down the video if you can not prove you have permission to use the music within it. This will count as a copyright strike against your account. Alternatively, some music owners may allow you to keep your video online, but prevent you from monetizing it (taking all the earnings for themselves).
If you repeatedly infringe copyright, the penalties become more severe. You will face account suspensions, or worse, account bans if you accumulate too many copyright strikes. Platforms such as YouTube and Twitch not allow you to become a partner if you have any outstanding copyright strikes or if you have a history of DMCA violations or copyright infringement. Large streamers such as xQc and Daequan have been temporarily banned from streaming as a result of using music in the background of their streams without permission.
In rare cases, the owner of the song may choose to sue you and commence a lawsuit. If you have a really popular video that has made you a lot of money, they may want their cut. The lawsuit could be for hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances.
Therefore, it is always best to play it safe and only use DMCA safe or copyright free music in your streams or content. StreemTunes is the world’s best source of DMCA safe music, and it is 100% free to use and guaranteed safe forever. With new content added biweekly, you will always have great music ready to go for any type of content.