Twitch DJs will now have to pay music labels to play songs in livestreams

Twitch has come up with a solution for the ongoing copyright issues that DJs encounter on the platform. The company announced Thursday a new program that enables DJs to stream millions of tracks in a new DJ Category, giving them more clarity on which songs are safe to use in their streams.  The only catch […]

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Twitter is facing a $250 million lawsuit filed by major music publishers

A music publisher’s coalition that includes big names like Universal Music Corp., BMG, Warner Chapell, and Sony Music Publishing is suing Twitter for copyright infringement.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), representing 17 publishers, listed 1,700 songs for which it sent multiple copyright violation notices to the social network. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Nashville, says that Twitter didn’t take any action against these notices. The publishers’ organization said in the filing that it is seeking fines of up to $150,000 for each violation.

The lawsuit alleged that the social network “fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical ‘compositions, violating Publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law.” It added that, unlike its competitors TikTok and Instagram, Twitter hasn’t struck a music licensing deal for the use of copyrighted music.

In March, The New York Times reported that Elon Musk’s management talks about signing a music licensing deal were stalled. Musk has been in cost-cutting mode since taking over the company, and the NYT report cites that such agreements could cost $100 million a year for established platforms.

The plaintiffs said that Twitter has become a “hot destination” for multimedia content with many users uploading videos with licensed music. The lawsuit also mentioned that Musk has allowed paid users to upload two-hour-long videos. There have been plenty of instances where users have uploaded full copyrighted movies on the platform. Additionally, the document refers to Twitter’s own marketing material describing the benefits of videos in terms of higher engagement.

The lawsuit also quoted a Musk tweet from last year where he refers to DMCA as a “plague on humanity.”

“Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service,” David Israelite, the president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a trade group, said in a statement given to LA Times.

“Twitter knows full well that music is leaked, launched, and streamed by billions of people every day on its platform. No longer can it hide behind the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and refuse to pay songwriters and music publishers.”

Last month, when Musk announced NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO, Israelite tweeted that the first order of business for the new CEO should be to address the problem of unlicensed music on the platform.

Twitter is facing a $250 million lawsuit filed by major music publishers by Ivan Mehta originally published on TechCrunch

GitHub defies RIAA takedown notice, restoring YouTube-dl and starting $1M defense fund

GitHub has restored the code of a project that the RIAA demanded it take down last month after finding that the group’s DMCA complaint was meritless. YouTube-dl, a tool that lets videos from the streaming site be downloaded for offline viewing, is back in action — and GitHub is changing its policy and earmarking a million dollars for a legal defense fund against future importunities.

The controversy began in mid-October when the RIAA sent a DMCA complaint to GitHub claiming that YouTube -dl violated the law no only by providing a tool for circumventing DRM, but by promoting the piracy of several popular songs in its documentation.

GitHub, like many tech companies, tends to assume the veracity of a complaint like this if it’s from a known entity like the RIAA, and it seems to have done so here, taking down YouTube-dl and publishing the complaint.

As many pointed out at the time, saying this project is a tool for circumventing DRM is like saying a tape recorder is a tool for music piracy. It’s used for far more than that, from research and accessibility purposes to integration with other apps for watch-later features and so on.

After a fork of YouTube-dl was created that lacked the references to popular YouTube videos as examples for use, the project was largely back online. But then GitHub received a letter from the internet freedom advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and realized they’d been had.

As the EFF letter explains (and as the technically savvy GitHub must surely have suspected from the start), the YouTube-dl project was never in violation of the DMCA. In the first place, what the RIAA described as a suggestion in the documentation to pirate certain songs is only a test that streams a few seconds of those videos to show that the software is working — well within fair use rights.

More importantly, the RIAA misconstrues the way YouTube and YouTube-dl’s code works, mistaking a bit of code on the video site for encryption and concluding that the tool unlawfully circumvents it, violating section 1201 of the DMCA. They also refer to a court case supporting this interpretation.

In fact, as the EFF explains patiently in its letter, the code does nothing of the sort and the way YouTube-dl’s agent “watches” a video is indistinguishable to YouTube from a normal user. Everything is conducted in the clear and using no secret codes or back doors. And the court case, the EFF notes, is mistaken and at any rate German and not applicable under U.S. laws.

GitHub, perhaps feeling a bit ashamed for having folded so quickly and completely in the face of a shabbily argued nastygram from the RIAA, announced several changes to prevent such occurrences in the future.

First, all copyright claims under section 1201 — which are fundamentally dubious — will receive a technical and legal review, and an independent one if necessary, to evaluate the truth of their assertions. If the findings aren’t decisive, the project will be left up instead of taken down while the proceedings continue. Should the project seem to be in violation, they will be given a chance to amend it before takedown. And if a takedown occurs, the developers will still be able to access important data like pull requests and bug reports.

Second, GitHub is establishing a $1M developer defense fund that will be used to protect developers on the platform from bad section 1201 claims. After all, faced with the possibility of a court battle, many a poor or hobby developer will simply abandon their work, which is one of the outcomes being counted on by abusers of the DMCA.

And third, the company will be continuing its lobbying work to amend the DMCA and equivalents around the world, with a specific focus on section 1201 it plans to announce soon.

It’s a happy ending for this little saga, and while DMCA abuse is a serious and ongoing issue, at least the bullies didn’t get their way this time. Until the law changes this will continue to be an issue, but vigilance and strongly worded letters will do in the meantime.