Every day, nearly half a million creators stream on Twitch. And at any given moment, a million fans like you are right there with them. Our role is to play support for everyone. Sometimes we do that by building new products or updating old ones. Sometimes we do that by hosting marathons or esports events.
And sometimes we do that by keeping you informed and empowered to act.
Yesterday, we sent a letter to our creators about Article 13, a new proposal to a European Union Directive that could impact streamers’ ability to express themselves and earn a livelihood on Twitch. In it, we asked those who shared our concerns to join us in advocating for free expression on Twitch. We’re sharing that letter here so everyone in the community has the opportunity to lend their voices and support to a cause that could affect us all.
By the end of 2018, a new proposal to a European Union Directive might pass that could limit you from sharing content and earning a livelihood — not just on Twitch, but on the internet at large. It’s called Article 13, and even if this is your first time hearing about it, it’s not too late to do something.
You and your communities have worked hard to build this incredible place, and it’s worth protecting. The fallout from Article 13 isn’t limited to creators in the European Union. Everyone stands to lose if content coming out of and going into the region is throttled. So we’re writing to all of you — every creator on Twitch — to make sure you’re informed about what’s happening. If you share our concerns about Article 13, we’re also including a list of ways you can help us fight against it. We know amazing things are possible when Twitch bands together. A little bit more of that magic right now could go a long way.
What’s happened so far?
Recently, the European Parliament voted in favor of an amendment to the Copyright Directive that is intended to limit how copyrighted content is shared across online services. While we support reform and rights holders’ ability to be compensated for their work, we believe Article 13’s approach does needless damage to creators and to free expression on the internet worldwide.
If you’re looking for more, this website provides a thorough rundown of Article 13.
Why are we concerned?
Article 13 changes the dynamic of how services like Twitch have to operate, to the detriment of creators.
Because Article 13 makes Twitch liable for any potential copyright infringement activity with uploaded works, Twitch could be forced to impose filters and monitoring measures on all works uploaded by residents of the EU. This means you would need to provide copyright ownership information, clearances, or take other steps to prove that you comply with thorny and complicated copyright laws. Creators would very likely have to contend with the false positives associated with such measures, and it would also limit what content we can make available to viewers in the EU.
Operating under these constraints means that a variety of content would be much more difficult to publish, including commentary, criticism, fan works, and parodies. Communities and viewers everywhere would also suffer, with fewer viewer options for entertainment, critique, and more.
What can you do?
The European Parliament could finalize the proposal to the Directive within the next several weeks. It’s crucial to lend our voice to this issue, as well as educate the community and empower action today.
At risk are your livelihood and your ability to share your talent and experiences with the world. If you are a resident of the EU or a concerned member of the creator community elsewhere, we ask that you consider the following:
Speak out: inform and educate your community during a broadcast of the issues with the European Union’s approach to copyright law and motivate folks to take an interest on this topic. Be sure to title your streams #Article13.
Share your perspective with your Member of the European Parliament. You can find your representative here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/home
Sign a petition.
Although this issue is timely in the European Union, similar conversations are taking place in other countries. Wherever and however this issue arises, we will continue to advocate for you, our creators. We hope you’ll join us.
Sincerely, Emmett Shear