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Music is big on Twitch. Now record labels want it to pay up

August 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

In 2018, Twitch streamer Ryann Weller played a 30-second snippet of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" on one of his livestreams. He showed viewers an animated e-card featuring his fans' faces dancing to the 2003 hit song. It became one of thousands of clips that fans have created of Weller's livestreams since he joined the Amazon-owned service in 2015.

On June 5, two years after Weller's livestream featuring the 50 Cent e-card and long after he had forgotten it, Weller received a sternly-worded copyright takedown notice via email from Twitch.

The copyright claim came from the Recording Industry Association of America, which has ramped up sending takedown notices on Twitch in June.

Weller — a former game developer for Telltale Games who has nearly 20,000 followers on Twitch — said he had no idea that videos saved by his fans could make him the target of a copyright infringement claim.

In June, the RIAA sent out 1,817 copyright notices to Twitch users.

RIAA CEO Mitch Glazier said he has "no idea" why Amazon, which has its own Amazon Music streaming service, pays artists for their work on that platform while Twitch does not.

"The hope is that Twitch starts to respect artists' work and understand that if they're going to use their music on their platform, then they've got to pay them for their work," he said.

The industry group uses an automated process to scan Twitch for video clips that contain infringing music, but the possibly offending clips are reviewed by people who check to see if the music is copyrighted before sending a takedown notice, Glazier added.

Video game attorney Ryan Morrison, CEO of talent agency Evolved, which represents pro esports players and Twitch content creators, said his clients began contacting him in droves in early June when they began receiving DMCA notices.

On June 8, Twitch tweeted about a "sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19.

After being contacted by CNN Business in June, the platform issued further clarification on June 10 via Twitter that it is expanding its use of "Audible Magic" a product Twitch uses to identify clips "that may contain copyrighted music and delete them for you without penalty. "

Several Twitch streamers told CNN Business they won't delete their video clips, even those with copyrighted music, and will wait for Twitch to take action against them.

Asmongold said he believed people don't tune into a Twitch stream just to listen to music, despite what record labels might argue.

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