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Home / Technology / Twitch does not pay for the songs used on its site. Record labels want that to change

Twitch does not pay for the songs used on its site. Record labels want that to change

“Go shawty, it’s your birthday,” he rapped on CNN Business, repeating the song’s opening lyrics. “I mean, I wish I could show you the clip, but of course it was removed.”

Weller – a former game developer for Telltale Games who has almost 20,000 followers on Twitch – said he had no idea that fan-logged videos could make him the target of a breach complaint. license. Twitch automatically deletes all broadcasts after 60 days, so clips are left with only his old streams.

For years Twitch has been the Wild West for music streaming, but in recent months it has attracted attention from record labels as its viewership has skyrocketed during the pandemic. In July, Twitch had 1

.4 billion watch hours, up 67% from the same period last year, with 17.6 million viewers in the music category, according to Stream Elements, an industry reporter.

Twitch has been overseen by record labels represented by the RIAA, which hold the rights to millions of songs. In June, RIAA sent 1,817 copyright notices to Twitch users. Prior to the June crackdown, only 710 such announcements were sent to Twitch users since the association started sending out announcements in 2017.

Is streaming music on Twitch illegal? Content creators could argue that based on low music usage and the context of the stream, some music streams should be considered legitimate and therefore not illegal. But the RIAA said it is looking into whether a clip can be legally used before sending the notice.

Twitch user Ryann Weller.
On Twitch, users can record highlights from live broadcasts they watch, which are then saved to the streamers’ channel. Services operate under the rule of three times. In the first message, the user is warned that “if this is a third copyright warning, your account is now terminated”. Users can appeal the decision.

“Mentally and emotionally, I am a dreadful junk,” Weller said. “If I got two more, I would lose my livelihood. I told my community that if I got one more strike I would have to go ahead and basically everything. ” Twitch is his main source of income and while he refuses to discuss how much money he is making, “I would say we can, but very little.”

For more than two decades, the RIAA and the International Federation of the Recording Industry – representing brands including Universal, Warner Music Group and Sony and others – have used the Digital Copyright Act. chronology to enforce their rights to copyrighted music. The 1998 law makes it illegal to freely distribute or duplicate copyrighted digital works.

Copyright owners may submit takedown notices against any online service provider if their content is used without authorization.

Instagram Live and YouTube have licensing agreements with record labels and compensate artists with music on their platforms as artists. Twitch, however, has no such arrangement.

RIAA CEO Mitch Glazier said he “doesn’t know” why Amazon, which has its own Amazon Music streaming service, pays artists for their work on the platform while Twitch not. “The hope is that Twitch begins to respect the work of artists and understand that if they use their music on their platform, then they have to pay for their work,” he said.

These notices put an individual user’s account at risk, but do not come with a financial penalty.

“This is not about users on Twitch,” said Glazier. “This in particular Twitch, unlike its competitors, does not include the rewards of the music, and instead, it affects the users.”

The industry team uses an automated process to scan Twitch for video clips containing infringing music, but potentially infringing clips will be reviewed by people who first check that the music is copyrighted. in sending the takedown notice, Glazier added. Users can also challenge Twitch’s takedown decisions.

Why June?

Video game lawyer Ryan Morrison, CEO of talent company Evolved, representing professional esports players and Twitch content creators, said his clients have begun to contact with him in early June when they started receiving DMCA notices. “What I really believe has happened is that these labels have only really gotten to grips with what Twitch is and sees the opportunity to make money there,” he said.

A source familiar with talks between Twitch and the music industry said record labels began negotiations with Twitch at the end of 2018 to establish a strategic partnership. However, the negotiations were suspended earlier this year and firms are now putting pressure on the platform’s content creators, the source added, “we are the ones reaching them. [Twitch,] And it’s a one-way conversation. “

The bottom line for record labels, according to the source, is that Twitch is an emerging music platform, with plenty of opportunities to integrate copyrighted music, if only Twitch would cooperate.

On June 8, Twitch tweeted about “sudden DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19. If you are unsure about audio rights in past streams, we recommend deleting those clips, “the tweet said. “We comply with the DMCA, which requires us to take action on the content account and live stream account upon notice from the rights holder, as happened this week.”

After being contacted by CNN Business in June, the platform gave a clearer explanation on June 10 via Twitter that it is expanding the use of “Audible Magic,” a product Twitch uses to identifies “clips that may contain copyrighted music and deletes them for you without penalty.”

Twitch terminates the accounts of repeated violators and “at its sole discretion” may limit access to its service or terminate the account regardless of repeated breaches, Twitch stated in the original. its DMCA rules.

Twitch declined to comment beyond its tweets. In a tweet on June 7, the company’s head of creative development, Marcus Graham, who also uses djWheat, said, “This is something every streamer should understand deeply. If you drive. The truck, know the rules of the road. If you stream the content, know the law of the Internet. “

In a tweet, Graham described the DMCA as “outdated”, saying that it was created long before Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok existed.

On July 23, Twitch tweeted that users can now download individual clips to save them and delete all their clips with just one. click. Jeremy Forrester, head of creative products at Twitch, tweeted that they are still working on tools to help users remove the offending clips while keeping the rest of their archive intact.

Some Twitch streamers told CNN Business they won’t delete their video clips, even those with copyrighted music, and will wait for Twitch to take action against them.

Music floods Twitch, as artists and DJs are using the platform in much greater numbers during the current pandemic. When the live shows were canceled, many turned to beats on live broadcasts. Some live streamers play games like “Beat Saber” and “Just Dance”, where the game involves switching to music. Others played some music to make it easier for audiences to watch a stream or finish an hour-long show.

How the live stream reacts

Mikayla Neil, a 21-year-old variety streamer from Melbourne, Australia, uses music as background noise when chatting with viewers. She has nearly 69,000 followers. When she started streaming in February 2018, “I’m not sure what is allowed and what is not,” she said.

She received a DMCA announcement on June 3 for playing Ariana Grande’s super hit “7 Rings” in her stream, which was cut back by a fan. Twitch deleted it automatically after she received the takedown notice and was unable to view it.

Twitch Macaiyla Edwards user.

In Missouri, Macaiyla Edwards, 21, a streamer best known for dating celebrity streamer “League of Legends” Tyler1, told CNN Business that she received a DMCA announcement on June 5 near midnight. .

“It caught me off guard. I never knew you could be exposed to clips,” said Edwards, adding that she thinks the videos are full of past broadcasts. would be an issue, but not shorter video clips. “I’m not sure what to do when I go back to streaming because music plays an important role in many people’s live streaming.”

What’s next

Zack, also known as “Asmongold”, is a 29-year-old World of Warcraft streamer living in Austin, Texas who has 1.6 million followers. He refused to give his surname. He received a DMCA announcement on June 6 from RIAA for using DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” in a video clip from July 2019.

Asmongold said he believes people don’t follow Twitch streams just to listen to music, no matter what record labels might argue.

Nobody said “” You know, I’m going to buy the album, but I’ll listen to this Twitch stream instead. “It is not a decision of the user,” he said.

The situation could change how Twitch handles music and what platforms remain as the Wild West for streamers continues to play copyrighted music unaffected from now on. Caffeine and other emerging streaming platforms are subject to the same DMCA rules.

At the end of July, Weller updated CNN Business. Since he received one Twitch takedown notice in June, he forked and started making videos on YouTube. He also pays electronic dance music label Monstercat a subscription fee to use its artists’ music on his Twitch and YouTube videos.

“These DMCA strikes are terrifying and damaging. It feels like you could lose your livelihood right away,” he said. “I am very sensitive to any copyrighted music and sounds now and have changed everything and everything that could be causing the problem.”

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