Skip to content

Creator Camp

Copyright School: What happens if you violate copyright law?

What happens when I get a DMCA notification?
If you’re infringing someone’s copyright by streaming or uploading content on Twitch, not only is that against Twitch’s Terms of Service, but the copyright owner or an agent they’ve designated can also send Twitch a DMCA notification. If they send Twitch a compliant notification, Twitch is obligated to remove that content and take note of this incident under our repeat infringer policy.

What is Twitch’s repeat infringer policy?
Twitch, like other services that allow users to share user-generated content, operates under global copyright laws that require it to terminate the accounts of “repeat infringers”. Our repeat infringer policy is a 3-strikes-and-you’re-out policy, where streamers receive a copyright strike if Twitch receives a DMCA notification identifying allegedly infringing material shared on their channel.

At the same time, and as explained in our DMCA Guidelines , strikes are not permanent, and can also be removed if streamers submit a compliant counter-notification or obtain a retraction. Eligible streamers can also have up to one strike removed per year if they complete Copyright School, which is a learning module that lives in Creator Camp (you’re looking at it right now!). Most eligible streamers who receive their first or second copyright strike will be prompted to attend Copyright School – if they complete the course and pass the quiz, one strike will be removed. You have 28 days from the day you receive the strike to complete Copyright School, and your eligibility may refresh after 12 months.

What if I believe the DMCA notification was a mistake?
If you received a DMCA notification and are confident that you didn’t infringe the copyright owner’s exclusive rights after reviewing the contents of the notification, you can consider disputing it. Here are your options:

  • Retractions:
    • You can contact the claimant who submitted the DMCA notification (their contact email will be in the notification Twitch sends you) to seek a retraction from the copyright holder.
    • Mistakes and misunderstandings happen, and copyright holders sometimes honor retraction requests.
    • If the claimant honors the retraction request and once they send Twitch a notice to retract a DMCA notification they previously submitted, Twitch will remove any copyright strikes and other associated penalties.
  • Counter-Notifications:
    • You should be 100% certain you didn’t infringe the copyright owner’s rights when choosing this option, since submitting a counter-notification can have real legal consequences.
    • This option requires that you provide certain legally-required information, as explained in our DMCA Guidelines . Twitch will also share the content of your counter-notification, including your contact information, with the claimant, as required by law.
    • If Twitch receives a complete counter-notification, Twitch generally will remove any copyright strikes and other penalties associated with the DMCA notification, unless Twitch receives notice from the claimant that they have filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the disputed material removed.

What about Fair Use?
Fair use and fair dealing are doctrines that allow people to use copyrighted material under certain limited circumstances without needing permission from copyright owners. In the U.S., fair use protects things like commentary, criticism, research, and news reporting, but these doctrines vary across countries and regions. Whether your use of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use or fair dealing is highly fact-dependent, and you should research these doctrines before trying to rely on them.

Fair use is a defense that generally would need to be raised in court. It does not prevent you from being sued for copyright infringement. Nor does it prevent your use of copyrighted material from being targeted by a DMCA notification from the copyright holder.

Remember, whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is protected by fair use or fair dealing depends on the facts. Make sure you understand how these doctrines apply before trying to rely on them, and be aware that copyright holders may see things differently than you do.


Do copyright strikes expire?
As stated in our DMCA Guidelines , copyright strikes expire. While we can’t share more specifics, there are a number of factors that influence the expiration date, including the date the strike was issued and the account’s standing on Twitch.

How does the counter-notification process work?
A counter-notification is a communication that you send to Twitch to dispute a particular DMCA notification because you believe it was sent by mistake or misidentification. This includes exceptions to copyright infringement, such as cases of fair use. Note that a counter-notification is a legal request for Twitch to reinstate content that was removed due to a DMCA notification, and there may be legal consequences for sending one.

Twitch is not a copyright court and generally isn’t in a position to approve or deny counter-notifications based on who’s right and who’s wrong between you and the rights holder. Instead, Twitch reviews whether counter-notifications meet the requirements of our DMCA Guidelines and applicable law and processes them if they do. 

If I submit a counter-notification and it is accepted by Twitch, will that prevent me from getting a DMCA notification for the same copyrighted work again?
It will not, both because copyrighted works can be used (or licensed, etc.) in different ways and because Twitch generally does not (and indeed cannot) adjudicate the merits of a copyright dispute. Submitting a counter-notification does not prevent a rights holder – even the same rights holder – from submitting a subsequent takedown request for the allegedly infringing use of their copyrighted work in content shared on your channel. This may happen, for example, if you have purchased a license that is valid for one use, but not another. Likewise, submitting a counter-notification in response to one DMCA notification does not prevent you from submitting one in response to another, different notification.

What should I do if someone sends a false DMCA notification against my channel?
Our compliance team reviews incoming DMCA notifications not only for adherence to our DMCA Guidelines , but also for indications of fraud or abuse. In the event you receive a DMCA notification that you believe is the result of a mistake or misidentification or is from someone pretending to be the rights holder, you have the ability to submit a counter-notification or seek a retraction. There may be legal consequences, including damages and attorneys’ fees, if someone submits a DMCA notification that materially misrepresents that material is infringing.

I have a license to use copyrighted material, but I still received a DMCA notification. What should I do?
If you receive a DMCA notification and believe that you were licensed or otherwise authorized to use the copyrighted work(s) identified in the notification, you can either submit a counter-notification to Twitch or seek a retraction from the rights holder. There may be legal consequences to submitting a counter-notification, so make sure you only submit one if your content was removed due to a mistake or misidentification. 

For instruction on submitting a counter-notification, please check out our DMCA Guidelines . Note that Twitch is required to share the information you include in your counter-notification with the claimant who submitted the DMCA notification – if disclosing personal information is a concern, an authorized representative (for example, an attorney) can submit on your behalf.