Legal Streaming: Build Your Audience

Legal Streaming: Build Your Audience Without Getting GG’ed

Tens of thousands of broadcasters, game developers and fans converged on San Francisco’s Moscone Center during TwitchCon 2015 — Twitch’s inaugural celebration for the video game streaming community. Since its launch in 2007, Twitch has grown into the world’s most popular streaming platform for video game and electronic sports Internet streaming, ranking fourth overall in the U.S. for peak Internet traffic in 2014. Other platforms, such as the recently-launched YouTube Gaming, are also gaining popularity. Why the surge? Not only do the services provide a community for video game fanatics, streamers can earn good money through advertisement sharing and viewer donations, and can further leverage their growing popularity into brand deals or other sponsorships. This means many streamers are effectively running a business out of their bedroom. But while it may be exciting to make a living from broadcasting videogame content, streamers should take early precautions to protect their channels and avoid being “GG’ed” by a potential legal dispute. Pick_the_right_tune.mp3 Copyright law protects original content, such as original songs and videogames, from unauthorized reproduction and use. Both the underlying music composition and the sound recording itself are protected by copyright law, and most often owned by different entities. Copyrights typically span the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, and licenses are available either through statutory licenses or licenses from a performance rights organization or the applicable music publisher or recording company. Streaming platforms generally enforce copyrights on behalf of the copyright holder by monitoring for the unauthorized use of copyrighted music. Last year, Twitch struck a deal with Audible Magic allowing it to mute pre-recorded Videos on Demand (“VoDs”) that used copyrighted music (including in-game music). Specifically, Audible Magic’s software scans VoD content from Twitch users in 30-minute blocks and mutes the entire block if copyrighted music is detected. This […]