Streaming platform, Twitch, under fire over copyright policies

At the start of this month, streaming platform Twitch published their first transparency reports. Usually, tech firms publishing this kind of report include statistics relating to takedowns in data due to copyright infringement. However, the Twitch report focused instead on safety and action taken in response to harassment, violence, spam and adult content, failing to mention music and copyright.

This follows the ongoing backlash Twitch has seen in recent months for the inconsistency in their copyright responses, accused of turning a blind eye to and allowing users to use unlicensed songs in some instances, and acting rashly in others.

The streaming company, owned by Amazon, published a blog post in November 2020 simply asking streamers to refrain from playing unlicensed copyrighted music in their streams, in addition to requesting they review their previous clips for use and removing offending clips accordingly. The company is reportedly amidst ongoing negotiations with an array of music organisations in regard to their seemingly confusing approach to copyright.

This follows an incident a few weeks ago whereby Twitch mistakenly cut off the audio for a live streamed performance by Metallica, cutting the audio in the middle of the bands hit song ‘Enter Sandman’ and changing the music to a generic instrumental folk track in response to alleged copyright infringement.

Metallica were one of the first artists to endorse Spotify and similar mainstream legal streaming services back in 2012.

By Ellie King, student from Southampton Solent University

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