Mega streaming platform Twitch is being accused of copyright infringement from multiple organizations in the music community as it struggles with massive DMCA violations from streamers worldwide.
This includes the Recording Academy, RIAA and over a dozen more for not securing licenses before releasing its own Soundtrack tool for creators to use copyright-cleared music on their streams. In a letter sent directly to Twitch and its owned company Amazon, high-profile groups such as the RIAA and the National Music Publishers Association also signed in agreement that Soundtrack actually gives streamers an ability to use music from labels without permission. According to Variety, it’s even escalated as musicians have taken to Twitch for live DJ streams. Despite the Soundtrack app promising cleared music, organizations further alleged Twitch was violating its own policies in their efforts to enforce DMCA-related rules.
The Soundtrack app was launched earlier on October 2020 as a solution to a growing number of copyright violations from streamers using music without permission or proper authorization. This resulted in a number of bans, warning and other measures to take place from Twitch. Streams were also muted in some parts to prevent audiences from listening to in-game soundtracks or song which were featured. The Soundtrack tool, currently in its closed beta, gives streamers a library of “curated” and “cleared” tracks from a variety of musicians to use without any strikes. It also features a music player and UI similar to Spotify and other music streaming apps.
But music groups claim the platform hasn’t secured full clearance among millions of tracks over Soundtrack. Its letter bluntly stated the app has already generated “thousands” of copyright infringement claims since its launch while Twitch isn’t making an effort to resolve them with respective music groups.
“We appreciate that Twitch has acknowledged that it is good business to offer licensed music for use by its streamers, and we welcome that Twitch has started to enter into some agreements with rightsholders to provide licensed music for use by its streamers,” the letter read, specifically referring to a lack of basic synch and mechanical licenses.
“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.”
Soundtrack was introduced as an open collaboration, distributing music from sources including SoundCloud, Westwood Recordings, Chillhop Music, UnitedMasters and other notable brands to compose its extensive library. This also comes shortly after mass copyright notices were sent to “hundreds” of Twitch Partners for using various tracks on their streams in the past year. The platform had also marked videos and past VOD streams with music and automatically deleted them. It’s worth noting the violations wouldn’t give a strike or permanent ban and the platform would instead delete future videos automatically.