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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However, the Landesmedienanstalt did say that the guidelines are outdated, so the ruling may change in the near future.
Fortunately, these restrictions will not influence New Zealanders. They could continue to stream their favourite games such as playing at good online casino operators in New Zealand and other iGaming fields. In short, only several governments restrict streaming.
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:
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Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.