When questioned in Congress about Twitch streaming but not licensing music, Bezos responded “I don’t know”.
For some context, Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. Twitch has since grown to be the world’s leading live streaming platform. Lockdown has only spurred their growth, with recent news that Logic has signed a seven figure deal with the company.
When a content creator on YouTube or Facebook uses copyright protected music, their system automatically determines the copyright status of the track and will place ads to monetise the video for the artist if necessary. As Twitch does not have the same Content ID-like system in place, using unlicensed music is illegal. This forces content creators to outsource for licenses from artists and labels or use royalty-free music. Twitch are therefore required to comply with DMCA takedown requests from copyright-holders. This lack of a music license system is increasingly frustrating artists and labels.
The 29th July saw Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust hearing.
Congressman Kelly Armstrong had some questions regarding Twitch’s use of music on the platform. “Music can be used to drive revenue. Obviously there’s a reason it’s important now. I wanna talk about Twitch for a second. News reports have indicated that Twitch users are receiving notice and takedown requests pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. My understanding is that Twitch allows users to stream music but does not license the music. Is that correct?”
Bezos responded: “I’m going to have to ask that I could get back to your office with an answer to that question. I don’t know.”
Armstrong continued pressing: “If Twitch is responding to DMCA notice and takedown requirements, should Twitch consider proactively licensing music instead of retroactively adhering to those notices?” “and primarily concered about small up-and-coming musicians different people that aren’t necessarily labels to make it as easy for them to at least get cease and desist notices out as well and as we continue to move forward there.”
Bezos responded with another nothing response: “Yes, Congressman, that is an important issue and I understand it. And I will get back to your office on that.”