“The ARA explained that Twitch ‘owes creators more than the willful blindness and vague platitudes [that Bezos] offered during [his] Congressional testimony’ because fair royalties, or the lack thereof, can have life altering consequences for working songwriters and performers.”
On August 10, the Executive Board of the nonprofit organization Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) published a letter to Jeff Bezos, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon.com, Inc. In the letter, the ARA asked Bezos to answer the question of whether the Twitch platform allows users to post or stream unlicensed music and to take necessary actions to stop such activity.
The ARA advocates for a healthy music economy and for the rights of musicians, performers, and songwriters in the digital world. The letter expressed the ARA’s respect for Amazon and its products and services, but noted its disapproval of Amazon’s Twitch subsidiary, which allegedly hosts and delivers unlicensed music. Twitch is an online service owned by Amazon since 2014 that is used to watch and stream digital video broadcasts, such as streams dedicated to artwork creation, music, talk shows, and TV series.
The letter also pointed to recent controversy surrounding Twitch, such as a large uptick in takedown notices being sent to Twitch users and Amazon’s “apparent unwillingness to do anything beyond the most minimal and inadequate effort to process takedown requests and shift responsibility for systematic unpaid use of music on the platform to its users.”
The letter further noted that the ARA was grateful that Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) raised concerns over Twitch’s activities during a recent House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee meeting. Noting that the ARA was “appalled” by Bezos’ “I don’t know” response when Armstrong asked whether Twitch users were allowed to stream unlicensed music, the letter suggested that Bezos should have had a better answer since Amazon is “deeply involved in the music business with multiple overlapping products and services that involve licensing questions, including Prime Video, various Music services, audible books, and its massive Alexa and Echo home assistant business.”
The ARA explained that Twitch “owes creators more than the willful blindness and vague platitudes [that Bezos] offered during [his] Congressional testimony” because fair royalties, or the lack thereof, can have life altering consequences for working songwriters and performers. In conclusion, the ARA urged Bezos to “provide a public answer to Congressman Armstrong’s question — does the Twitch platform allow users to post or stream unlicensed music?” and to take any necessary action to stop such activity from happening.