Monday 10 August 2020 1:51 pm

Bezos accused of 'wilful blindness' over use of unlicensed music on Twitch

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has found himself under fire by the music industry for an “apparent unwillingness” to counteract use of unlicensed music on streaming platform Twitch.

In a letter, seen by City A.M., non-profit organisation the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) accused Bezos of being ignorant of copyright issues on Twitch, having submitted more than 2,500 complaints against the site in the last two months alone.

Bought by Amazon in 2014, Twitch is a streaming platform used by gamers to showcase live footage of gameplay and other events, often featuring unlicensed music in the background.

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It is also sometimes used to host live DJ sets and other events.

The ARA accused Twitch of an “apparent unwillingness to do anything beyond the most minimal and inadequate effort to process takedown requests”, instead shifting responsibility for the use of unpaid music onto its users.

Under questioning at a US antitrust hearing earlier this month, Bezos said he did not know whether Twitch allows users to stream music but does not pay any royalties on the music itself.

“As Twitch uses music to grow its audience and shape its brand, the company owes creators more than the wilful blindness and vague platitudes you offered,” the letter said.

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Amazon did not immediately provide a comment on the letter.

Twitch has soared in popularity over lockdown, with streaming hours rising 83 per cent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

The ARA demanded Bezos provide a public answer to explain what Twitch is doing to proactively stop unlicensed music use on its platform, and ensure that artists are paid fair market value for their work.