The music industry continues its battle against Twitch who will have to make a quick decision to get out of this situation.
Last Thursday, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Recording Academy, the National Music Publishers Association, the American Association of Independent Music, SAG-AFTRA, and many other similar organizations signed a joint letter. This letter was sent to Amazon. But what can it be about? These organizations wrote this letter to remind Amazon of a few principles. Notably, the violation of copyright and the lack of Twitch's licensing agreements with major music rights holders.
The letter denounces the fact that Twitch allows streamers to play copyrighted music without an appropriate license to do so. One of the passages in the document is quite explicit:
"Twitch appears to be doing nothing in response to the thousands of music rights infringement notices it has received, and does not even currently acknowledge that it has received them, as it has done in the past.
Yet the live streaming platform seems to be perfectly aware of this actions. Last week, Twitch sent out a message informing thousands of streamers that they had infringed copyright and that the platform was going to delete the videos. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is not at its first attempt. The RIAA has a long history of fighting Amazon's, and especially Twitch's, actions. This letter is one more step in proving that Twitch is going against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a U.S. law that is intended to provide a means to fight copyright infringement.
A YouTube-style model?
YouTube, chronologically the ancestor of Twitch, also faced this situation between 2007 and 2009. Since then, the platform managed by Google has made no concessions to copyright infringement. YouTube allows the holders of these rights to receive the advertising revenue generated by the video. The channel can also be banned at the request of the author.
Are we moving towards a similar model for Twitch? Not so sure. Twitch seems to have been offering other solutions for some time. Recently, the platform, owned by Amazon, signed a landmark agreement with SACEM to support streamers as well as musical artists. In addition, Twitch has just presented the beta version of Soundtrack, a library of songs whose copyrights are respected.