Becoming a Twitch Affiliate is a goal most content creators strive for when starting their live streaming journey. Being an Affiliate is a badge of honor, allowing streamers to showcase the effort they’ve put into their channel while being able to monetize their work.
Even though becoming an Affiliate seems like an obvious choice to most, it’s important to understand that, by accepting Affiliate status, you’re entering into a contract with Twitch. It’s also important to understand what you’re agreeing to in this contract. Below are five important things every Twitch Affiliate should know about the Twitch Affiliate Agreement.
1. You’re giving Twitch exclusivity to your content for 24 hours
When you agree to the Twitch Affiliate Agreement you agree to have your stream and its related VOD (video on demand) available solely on Twitch for 24 hours following the end of the initial broadcast, which Twitch calls the Exclusivity Period (Section 2.2). This means that for 24 hours following your live stream, you can’t post your content anywhere else, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, your own website, or any other platform. This also means that you agree to not live stream to another platform at the same time you’re streaming on Twitch.
2. You’re giving Twitch permission to use your content even after the Exclusivity Period
Even though you can post your stream content wherever you’d like after the 24-hour exclusivity period, under Section 2.2 of the Twitch Affiliate Agreement you’re giving Twitch a nonexclusive license to your content. That means you’re giving Twitch permission to use your content even though you can give someone else permission to use your content too.
3. Twitch will only pay you if you make $100 or more
According to the Agreement, “Twitch will not be obligated to make a payment if the total amount to be paid to you under this Agreement is under $100 (the ‘Payment Threshold’), and may instead accrue such payment obligation until such time as its overall obligation to you is at least the Payment Threshold” (Section 4.1). Basically, you’re giving Twitch permission to hold on to your money until you’ve earned at least $100 – after that, Twitch will pay you based on its payment schedule.
4. If you violate Twitch’s terms, they can keep your earnings
Section 2.4 of the Affiliate Agreement states that if you violate the Agreement itself, Twitch’s Terms of Service, or its Bits Acceptable Use Policy, Twitch has the right to withhold your earnings. You are agreeing that you will not be eligible to receive Affiliate Program fees otherwise payable to you, even if those fees aren’t connected to the violation. So, for example, even if there’s an issue with how you received some bits, Twitch can still hold on to money you make from qualifying purchases, channel subs, special programs, and ads.
5. You’re agreeing to be an independent contractor, not an employee
Under Section 14 of the Agreement, you are confirming that you are an independent contractor and not a Twitch employee. This is important because employees receive different benefits than independent contractors do. For example, employers often withhold taxes for employees while independent contractors manage their own taxes. As well, a Twitch employee might have the power to enter Twitch into agreements while an independent contractor does not.
When it comes to creating content, in most cases an independent contractor owns the copyright to the work they create while, depending on the circumstance, an employer owns its employees’ creative work. So, since you’re considered an independent contractor, Twitch would not own your content (but you are still agreeing to 24-hour exclusivity and that nonexclusive license).
Is it worth it?
Most streamers accept Affiliate status, agreeing to the above terms. Do you think being able to monetize your content on Twitch is worth these restrictions?