Twitch in copy­right fight over il­le­gally streamed songs

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Hasan Chowdhury

‘Twitch said it would start au­to­mat­i­cally scan­ning clips of live streams for copy­righted mu­sic’

JEFF BE­ZOS has been ac­cused of “wil­ful blind­ness” by mu­sic rights hold­ers over the use of un­li­censed songs on Ama­zon-owned stream­ing ser­vice Twitch.

The Artists Rights Al­liance (ARA), a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion run by mu­si­cians, has sin­gled out the Ama­zon bil­lion­aire for fail­ing to take ac­tion on the stream­ing plat­form.

In a let­ter to Mr Be­zos, ARA’s board mem­bers urged the Ama­zon founder to pro­vide a pub­lic an­swer on what he is do­ing to stop un­li­censed mu­sic from be­ing played on the site and “en­sure that artists and song­writ­ers are paid fair mar­ket value”.

Twitch, a site where users livestream them­selves play­ing video games, has ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years as young peo­ple flock to watch fa­mous gamers play hit ti­tles such as Fort­nite. It has 15 mil­lion ac­tive users each day, many of whom lis­ten to or play mu­sic in the back­ground of livestream­s.

In June, rights hold­ers be­gan is­su­ing thou­sands of “take­down no­tices” against copy­righted au­dio on Twitch cov­er­ing songs in­clud­ing Ari­ana Grande’s 7 Rings.

In re­sponse, Twitch said it would start au­to­mat­i­cally scan­ning clips of live streams for copy­righted mu­sic.

“As Twitch uses mu­sic to grow its au­di­ence and shape its brand, the com­pany owes cre­ators more than the wil­ful blind­ness and vague plat­i­tudes you of­fered,” the let­ter said.

It comes af­ter Mr Be­zos faced a grilling in front of the US Congress last month. Dur­ing the hear­ing, con­gress­man Kelly Arm­strong asked Mr Be­zos if Twitch should con­sider “proac­tive li­cens­ing” of mu­sic in­stead of “retroac­tively” ad­her­ing to take­down no­tices.

The Ama­zon boss said he doesn’t know if Twitch pays roy­al­ties for stream­ing.

Ama­zon did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Ari­ana Grande on stage dur­ing her ‘Sweet­ener World Tour’ at The O2 Arena in Lon­don

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