Germany labels Twitch a ‘radio service’, tells streamers they now require a broadcasting license

German authorities have officially recognised Twitch as a 'radio service offering' and streamers will now require licenses.

Popular German YouTube and Twitch channel PietSmiet (pictured) has been told it will need a license to continue to stream.

German broadcast authority the Landesmedienanstalt has temporarily ruled that live-streaming requires a broadcasting license, which costs between €1,000 and €10,000€ depending on the number of viewers, according to this Reddit post.

Those without a license will technically be classed as a pirate station and could be shut down.

Germany is not alone in enforcing this kind of legislation. China also requires certain streamers to hold a license in order to broadcast content.

It's not yet clear whether German streamers will have to follow the exact same regulations that TV broadcasters do, but if so, they will have to follow at 10pm watershed.

However, the Landesmedienanstalt did say that the guidelines are outdated, so the ruling may change in the near future.

The ruling has mainly been made to prevent TV and radio stations from billing themselves as streaming companies in order to avoid paying a broadcasting license.

The Commission for Admission and Supervision (ZAK) of media organisations told streaming channel PietSmietTV it must obtain a license by April 30th. 

Siegfried Schneider, chairman of ZAK, said [translated]: "The [online streaming] network is full of radio-like offerings. For this reason, the legislation should be amended as soon as possible."

Will this affect UK streamers?

Not at the moment, but it's worth bearing in mind.

The UK Gambling Commission recently came down hard on skin/video game betting websites and had an in-depth look into whether some esports tournaments are technically gambling or not.

It's probably only a matter of time before streamers and YouTubers come under heavier scrutiny on our shores.

British esports journalist and host Richard Lewis (who has previously investigated the influence of gambling on video games) took a closer look at what's happening with German streamers in this video:

0 Responses

  1. […] […]
  2. […] ridiculous as this sounds, there’s a grain of reason behind the story. As Esports News UK reports, the cause of the whole situation is some very outdated legislation. Even the Landesmedienanstalt […]
  3. […] although it likely won’t be a long-lasting issue. German streamer PietSmiet has been told that he must obtain a broadcasting license in order to continue broadcasting, as a result of Twitch being recognized as a “radio service […]
  4. […] me, right? In fact, I found a number of websites reporting on it, most of them being located in the UK and Germany. So I’m going to take it as a fact until I see otherwise. So, what’s the story? In […]
  5. […] Germany Labels Twitch a ‘Radio Service’ -esports-news […]
  6. […] Things are starting to get weird with Twitch and video game streamerst in Germany. A prominent German content channel, PietSmiet, was informed that in order to continue its business, it would need to acquire a broadcasting license. In Germany, a broadcasting license can cost anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 Euros, depending on the size of a channel’s audience. Any broadcasting organization operating without a license is considered a pirate station and can be subject to being shut down. While the law is admittedly outdated and subject to re-investigation in the future, for now it appears to be enforced on this level to prevent TV and radio stations from claiming to be streamers to get out of the licensing themselves. The problem here is scale, as it is doubtful many streamers, especially those starting out, can get that kind of money straight-up to get a license. Streaming is largely an independent effort build from the ground-up, while radio and TV channels usually begin with investment capital.This story comes from a UK outlet, which explains the difference between the German ruling and situation in the UK. Things are definitely under examination, and I can’t help but wonder what happens if the US gets wind of these new rulings. Could everyone eventually need a license?Source: Esports News […]
  7. […] license. Germany has already taken that step requiring a radio broadcast license for Twitch. Germany under Merkel is deeply concerned about her negative press. They are starting to regulate […]

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