Well, if YouTube/Google did actually solidify its purchase of Twitch.tv last week, it certainly didn’t take long for things to change at the notoriously laissez-faire (one-eyed, one-horned, flying) purple streaming giant.
Twitch, which in the past has been very lax when it came to copyright enforcement, is now scanning archived stream videos for infringing content with the help of a company called Audible Magic—infringing content including in-game music. Like, for instance, any of the radio music in Fallout 3. Valve’s own official videos of the recent Dota 2 tournament The International were briefly silenced for containing music from—wait for it—Dota 2.
The announcement is couched in some fantastic corporate double-speak: “Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio.” (Emphasis mine.)
Upon hearing just a whiff—just the slightest quivering—of an infringing note, Audible Magic then mutes your video for thirty. Whole. Minutes. Not just the infringing time period, and not just the music. Your entire video, including your voice and all game sounds, is muted for half an hour. Even if you export your stream later on, it’s still muted. That audio is gone forever.
Well, “gone forever” unless you send Twitch “a counter-notification that is compliant with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),” according to the official announcement.
“Flagged Content will display an on-screen notification informing viewers that content owned or controlled by a third party has been identified. The progress bar will also be red for the duration of the muted section,” writes Twitch. It looks a little something like this:
Or, if you want to see the effects live, you could always head over to Twitch’s official stream where—ironically—several of the company’s own Twitch Weekly videos have been muted for containing infringing content. Oof.
Twitch also announced it’s changing the way archives are handled. Previously you could archive entire streams as soon as they were done broadcasting, and they’d stay on Twitch’s servers forever. Now the company is allowing archives to exist for a maximum of 14 days if you’re a free user, or 60 for premium/partners. In order to save clips forever you’ll need to break them up into two hour “Highlights” and file those individually.
This applies to all existing content too—if you have streams archived on the service you’ll need to go on sometime in the next three weeks and make sure you’ve broken them into Highlights, or else those stream archives are gone forever.
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Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and doubles as the resident Zork enthusiast.