The global e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has upset the biggies of the music industry as one of its acquisitions have been reported playing hooky with licensing rights.
Last Thursday, major rights holders of the music industry wrote a strongly worded letter to Amazon about the infringement of copyright Twitch has been partaking in by allowing its users to stream unlicensed music.
Twitch is a live streaming platform for gamers which Amazon acquired in the year 2014. According to organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Recording Academy, the National Music Publishers Association, the American Association of Independent Music and several others, Twitch doesn’t have any licensing deals with the rights holders. Still, it continues to let its streamers play copyrighted music.
The letter from RIAA and other music rights holders highlights how the Amazon-owned company hasn’t taken any steps to resolve this issue despite receiving several notices reminding them about music infringement.
The situation is now being deemed as having the potential to turn real ugly real fast as the latest letter makes a case for Twitch not operating as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thus, it opens up the company to being sued for copyrights claims.
Between the year 2007 and 2009, a similar problem arose between Youtube and various media companies, wherein the latter moved to sue the video streaming platform. That incident then led to Youtube, creating a ‘content fingerprinting system’ which is still in use for weeding out any and every form of copyright infringement from their platform.
Digital Platforms And Music Copyright: An Unending Complication
The match between digital platforms and copyrighted music is a complicated one, and every company has its unique way of dealing with the intricacies. For instance, in the case of Youtube, if a channel is making use of copyrighted music, rights holders can either collect a portion of their ad revenue or take it down altogether.
In case of Instagram, to avoid infringement issues with live streams, a notification pops up to give users a warning about the use of copyrighted audio which can cause the broadcast to be taken down.
Now, it seems like RIAA, with its campaign aimed against Twitch, wants the platform to come up with some similar measurers to avoid future disputes.
In response to the letter, Twitch in a statement has said that their company does support the music industry as they pay royalties to various performing rights organizations. It means that the platform is paying for licenses which would allow music to be played at public quite similar to how restaurants play music in the open.
Nonetheless, the music industry groups believe that unlicensed copyrighted music is still very much widely available across the entire platform and Twitch despite claiming that it would eventually remove them isn’t doing much.
Now it remains to be seen what the future holds for the same. If Twitch will end up getting sued by RIAA in a similar way to Youtube or if they will strike up a deal for the proper usage of copyrighted music is anybody’s guess right now. We will keep you updated on all further developments. Until then, stay tuned.