Germany may have just shown how outdated its media laws are with a new ruling that called Twitch a “radio service.” With such a ruling, German streamers would have to get a Twitch broadcasting license, which depending on the number of viewers could run anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 euros.
Now, as any Internet-savvy person would be able to tell you, Twitch is not a service for radio. Twitch streams are for streaming video games, or any other one of the categories. Radio, however, isn’t really a part of it. However, if German streamers don’t get a Twitch broadcasting license, they run the risk of being declared a pirate radio station.
If streamers are declared a pirate radio station, they’ll more than likely be shut down, and possibly arrested. Considering how expensive a broadcasting license is in Germany, if this ruling is allowed to stand then streamers may have to stop broadcasting on Twitch in order to save money, or hold kickstarters for their fans so that they can buy a license.
While many of the more popular streamers in Germany won’t have this problem as they’ll likely make that money in subscription dollars and donations every month, other, smaller streamers may not have the fanbase to pay for licenses.
Germany isn’t alone in this, either; China also requires streamers to purchase licenses to stream, though considering the tight control over Chinese media that’s far less surprising.
There is hope, however. The Landesmedienanstalt, the German state media authorities, have said that the laws that the court made its ruling on are very outdated, so it’s very possible that the ruling could likely be overturned. This means that streamers wouldn’t have to buy a Twitch broadcasting license in order to continue streaming.
Either way we’ll likely hear more about this at some point in the future, and hopefully it works out in favor of the streamers.