A2IM, AMA, NMPA, SoundExchange, Broad Industry Coalition Confront Amazon’s Twitch On Licensing

A2IM, AMA, NMPA, SoundExchange, Broad Industry Coalition Confront Amazon’s Twitch On Licensing

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(Hypebot) —  A broad coalition of music industry players have written Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling out Twitch for not properly licensing the music performed and used there

The letter comes days after Twitch announced limited licensing deals and a major purge of most music videos on demand available on the popular free platform.

Industry observers see the letter as designed to bring Twitch to the negotiating table or if needed launching litigation against it. [Full list of signatories below.]

The Letter

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.
410 Terry Ave.
North Seattle, WA 98109-5210

Dear Mr. Bezos, 

We represent artists, songwriters, musicians, vocalists, managers, producers, audio engineers,  major and independent labels and publishers, and many other professionals in all genres of music in the United States. Our members write, sing, play, produce, market, and disseminate nearly all the music professionally recorded in the U.S. today.

We read with interest Twitch’s recent announcement regarding its Soundtrack tool. According to Twitch, this tool gives Twitch’s users the ability to feature a curated library of licensed music  in their live streams.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.

However, we are confounded by Twitch’s apparent stance that neither synch nor mechanical licenses are necessary for its Soundtrack tool. We are also deeply disappointed that Twitch continues to allow and enable its streamers to use our respective members’ music without authorization, in violation of Twitch’s music guidelines.2 We are further concerned that Twitch  continues to host and widely make available unlicensed music on its platform despite the  company’s announcements, most recently in June 2020, that it would remove such unlicensed  music.3 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.

Further, we are concerned by your responses to questions regarding licensing made during the  House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 29, 2020. We note that you failed to confirm  whether Twitch has acquired any licenses to make copies of musical compositions or digital  performances of any sound recordings on your platform. You also failed to state what action  Twitch is taking to prevent unauthorized copies and performances.


Twitch’s neglect of the fundamental rights of musicians, songwriters, sound recording artists, and many others whose music is exploited on Twitch without due compensation stands in stark contrast to Twitch’s competitors and to the support of such interests extended by Amazon’s own Amazon Music services. As the Artist Rights Alliance noted in its August 10, 2020 letter to  you:

“As Twitch uses music to grow its audience and shape its brand, the company owes creators more than the willful blindness and vague platitudes you offered  during your Congressional testimony. For working songwriters and performers,  fair royalties on a growing platform like Twitch can literally be a matter of life  and death – the difference between having a place to live and homelessness and  having access to health care or being uninsured. For others it’s the difference  between being able to work as an artist or having to give up a lifetime of  dreams.”

We hope you appreciate the gravity of the situation and will take proactive efforts to ensure  that unlicensed music is not available on Twitch.

Sincerely,

American Association of Independent Music

Americana Music Association

Artist Rights Alliance

Church Music Publishers’ Association

Christian Music Trade Association


Global Music Rights

Gospel Music Association

International Bluegrass Music Association

Living Legends Foundation

Music Managers’ Forum – US

Nashville Songwriters Association International National Music Publishers’ Association Recording Academy

Recording Industry Association of America Rhythm & Blues Foundation

SAG-AFTRA

Songwriters of North America


SoundExchange

cc: Emmet Shear, Chief Executive Officer Twitch Interactive Inc. 

350 Bush Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94104

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