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Twitch and use of music?

Background music in Twitch?

Especially in live streams on Twitch, background music from well-known sources is often taken. Or it will adorn entire videos. If these are well-known artists, one has to consider whether GEMA fees apply for this use. Unlike YouTube, there is no contract between GEMA and Twitch to cover the use of music.

Nevertheless, you still need not be afraid to be prosecuted for the illegal use of music in Twitch streams.

In principle, however, GEMA regards the operator of a platform as a license partner and not the individual streamer/uploader. According to GEMA’s current legal opinion, Twitch is primarily a licensee for all music use that takes place there. At the moment, however, negotiations on this are not complete and there are no court decisions. However, GEMA warrants that in the event of a change in the legal opinion or a different court decision, Twitch-Streamers shall only be liable after examination in individual cases and detailed public information.

But beware:

a) This situation applies ONLY to the Federal Republic of Germany. It may therefore be that collecting societies see this differently for Switzerland or for Austria. Again, however, it is to be expected that too early an attempt will be made to start conversations with Twitch and not with every single streamer.
b) This situation applies ONLY to music by artists/labels registered with GEMA. All other artists and the like could continue to take action against a streamer at any time, where one expects to be worth using.
c) Finally, this legal view can only apply to the extent that one assumes a stream/streamer aimed at German users. For example, if the stream is in English, good arguments could apply to other jurisdictions, including the United States, and face take-down notices, rumoured streams, or other twitch punishments.

ECJ rules on copyright protection of forms and models

If you use your own music or music from Twitch’s library to illustrate streams, you are usually on the safe side.

If you want to cover live performances, work as a DJ, establish radio broadcasts or publish content where music is not just illustration, there are other legal issues and licensing issues to consider in order not to be used by rights holders not to conflict with Twitch as a platform provider.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Just contact me about the various contact options here on my page.

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Written by Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel specializes in the areas of competition law, copyright law and IT/IP law and specializes in computer games, sports, marketing and streamers/influencers. He supports start-ups in their development, assists them with all legal problems and supports them in business development.

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