Changes to Streaming for 2021
I had some of this in mind when I was discussing my previous 2021 update post. I suppose there was a part of this that I was hoping to put off, because if smarter decisions were made in the environment around me, they wouldn't have needed to be done, but I can't hold out hope for this any longer.
Last night, I went back and effectively wiped my social media clean: deleted some 3,400 tweets, and created a whole new page for The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay on Facebook with the new URL of http://facebook.com/thescarletderby as opposed to the previous "derbyandjay." The reason I needed to do this was as a wholesale means to remove anything that can be construed as corporate copyrighted material from all these pages.
This is due to the fact that, along with the $600 stimulus package bill, another bill was pushed through which makes it a federal crime to stream copyrighted material for purposes of business or profit. The parameters of this bill are still largely being discussed, but in its simplest form it states that it is now a federal crime punishable by up to ten years in jail to stream copyrighted material with intent towards profit, which streamers on sites such as Twitch have been able to do for years along with Twitch's assistance via bits, channel subscriptions, etc. The law is 5,600 pages long and was clipped to the stimulus bill within two hours, which means that a significant amount of re-evaluation still has yet to be done. There's a discussion that is suggesting this bill only tends to crack down on organizations which use streaming to air hours of pirated TV shows and movies. However, the simple language of "streaming copyrighted material for a profit" is broad enough to encapsulate even the DMCA crackdowns on music which have already effected several streamers on Twitch.
So, from this day forward, it is my decision that I will not put anything anywhere on the web or any social media site that carries a copyright other than my own until this law is better evaluated.
In even straighter language, I am saying that as of 12/22/2020, I WILL NOT BE STREAMING VIDEO GAME CONTENT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. I will still remain on Twitch, where I will more than likely commit entirely to art streams and uploads of my own original content.
Now, to be fair to the individuals debating this, let me make it clear that this is not SOLELY a decision of mine based on the endangerment of this law. If I were to do the math, I have been streaming about 12 hours a week of mostly video game content for about two years, which amounts to about 1,248 hours total. I don't have the most popular channel on Twitch, I average roughly about 28 to 40 viewers a month.
However, I present my streams as my copyrighted character, and using images that are my own intellectual property. Having those images intertwined with material that is NOT my own copyrighted material, despite its context and clear lack of association, might still suggest that I'm streaming for profit, but this creates another wrinkle of logic within the problem presented by this law: I simply do not have enough viewers and profit intake to make the threat of a lawsuit, let alone a federal punishment. Therefore, as much as I enjoy streaming games the overall risk this presents is not worth what I'd be receiving in return. I may potentially make better time if I buckle down and make use of my copyrights to create 100% original content for the web, which I intend to do, as of my last message.
But as usual, this is going to effect a lot more people than merely myself. As I went about clearing anything problematic from my social media it was revealed to me how much this law breaks the social media landscape as a whole. I wonder if Facebook and Instagram are going to be so keen on keeping "like" and "share buttons around. I wonder whether Twitch is still going to play a part in allowing streamers to monetize their own streams. I worry about people who play characters on streams, like I did with The Scarlet Derby, but for some reason don't have a copyright or organization attached to them. What will happen to those people? Then there are sites like TikTok, which made it a point to AUTOMATE the sharing of audio and video between two individuals, some of which was done to cobble together viral videos for advertising.
So while I have the ability to still sail the good ship of The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay towards safer harbors, I very sincerely hope for all of this to shake out as fairly as possible for the sake of the American public. Decades of creative progress can't be snatched out of the hands of freely operating individuals on the internet for the sake of protecting the intellectual property of a few large companies. To everyone I know and love on Twitch and other social media plaforms, I wish you all the best of luck and safety.
With Much Self E-Steam,