Twitch Continues To Get Criticized By Music Industry

In a strongly worded letter, major US music institutions tell the streaming platform that it needs to do more.

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In the past months, Twitch has struggled with onslaughts of DMCA takedown notices and the use of non-licensed music on the platform. The company recently set up a Twitch Soundtrack service to offer licensed music to streamers, but some music organizations aren't convinced that Twitch is taking the necessary steps to address the issues.

According to Variety, Twitch and its parent company Amazon received a letter signed by major US music institutions, including RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America. It accuses the platform of letting streamers ignore copyright laws and failing to secure the proper copyright licenses for the Soundtrack tool.

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The letter claims that Twitch did not get synch (audio-only use) and mechanical (video use) licenses for Soundtrack. It also asserts that Twitch "allow[s] and enabl[es] its streamers to use our respective members' music without authorization, in violation of Twitch's music guidelines." The letter elaborates, "Twitch appears to do nothing in response to the thousands of notices of music infringement that it has received nor does it currently even acknowledge that it received them, as it has done in the past."

Twitch countered by stating that Soundtrack is not in violation with any copyright laws and is partnered with music organizations like SoundCloud, CD Baby, EMPIRE, Create Music Group, UnitedMasters, and more. "Soundtrack is a fully licensed service. Twitch has entered into agreements with rights holders for the recordings and compositions included in the service. Soundtrack is not only a fully-licensed way for streamers to play great music in their live streams but also an important discovery tool for independent artists and labels," the company said.

The platform also strongly refuted the letter's claims of non-response to copyright claims: "Finally, let's be absolutely clear, Twitch responds to each valid DMCA notification it receives by removing the allegedly infringing content expeditiously in compliance with DMCA requirements."

Twitch's latest reaffirmation of its treatment of clips containing copyrighted music has been met with confusion. The platform told users that it would automatically delete any clips it detects containing non-licensed music. Many streamers expressed dissatisfaction at this policy-- especially since they don't know which clips are flagged--and have asked for more transparency.

In any case, it appears Twitch's fight with certain music industry organizations is far from over. Both Twitch and the music institutions that signed the letter claim their actions support and benefit musicians, but it's uncertain how streamers--who also include DJs and musicians--will be affected by the ongoing conflict.

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