Twitch Mimics YouTube, Begins Automatically Muting Videos With Copyrighted Audio

The popular livestream website is now scanning and censoring sections of its archived videos to mute copyrighted audio.

In December, YouTube began to crack down on the inclusion of copyrighted audio in published videos. It incited extensive backlash against the site, but YouTube stood by its policies. Now, it looks like another website is following in YouTube's footsteps: Twitch, the popular livestreaming site, implemented a censoring system today that automatically scans and mutes sections of archived videos that have copyrighted audio.

Using a program called Audible Magic, Twitch can discover music in archived videos that belongs to clients of the program and instantly mute parts of the video. In 30-minute sections, the audio is removed and the video is rendered silent. And this doesn't just apply to users purposefully playing music over streams, either: in-game and ambient music is being censored, as well.

In a post on Twitch's blog, general counsel Elizabeth Baker explained that this was not a result of lawsuits or external pressure. It was, instead, a decision made to be friendlier toward copyright owners. "Starting today, Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio," she wrote. "We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners." At the moment, this system only applies to Twitch's videos on demand and not livestreams.

Expectedly, the Twitch community isn't responding well to this new system of censoring audio. Noted speedrunner Cosmo Wright, for example, even said on Twitter that he was thinking about switching streaming services in protest.

And some unintended videos have been censored, as well. One of Twitch's official broadcasts had a long section of its audio muted. You can check out Twitch's video, with the muted section, below.

Additionally, Danny Baranowsky, composer of the music in Crypt of the Necrodancer, didn't even want to enforce his copyright, and he expressed his frustration on Twitter. "Nobody but me has the authority to ask for a takedown of Necrodancer music on Twitch," he said. "If you're getting takedowns please let me know!"

Hitbox, a competitor to Twitch, also tweeted that it was receiving an influx of new users as a result of Twitch's policy change. In fact, so many new users registered on the site that it crashed, according to the site's support account on Twitter.

This follows in the wake of this morning's changes to the way archived videos are stored. According to the Twitch blog, Instead of allowing users to store archived streams indefinitely, Twitch now saves everyone's streams for fourteen days, but then deletes them after that. However, It has released a new video manager to allow users to create "highlights" of up to two hours which are saved forever. It has also made exporting these highlights to YouTube easier.

Recently, rumors reemerged that the site had been acquired by YouTube. Neither YouTube parent company Google nor Twitch have commented on the rumors, but if YouTube is indeed buying Twitch, it would make sense why the sites have similar copyright-protection systems.

If you stream to Twitch, have your videos been affected? Let us know in the comments.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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332 comments
Iamkalell
Iamkalell

Knew stuff like this was going to happen the moment I heard Google was buying Twitch.  Such a shame.  Google is the scourge of the internet.

xdivinity_ii
xdivinity_ii

My videos have been affected. I like to broadcast my games and then upload my videos on YouTube. I just recently tried to upload my video to YouTube and have been having problems. I must have done it about 4-6 times and still it would not upload. I have tried nearly everything, up to looking up answers on Google. Not only that, but I received a message from Twitch that apparently about 5 mins of my broadcast had a "copyright" section in which my mic might have been "improperly" unmuted in which they stated. But I had no music or anything playing that could of caused a section of my video to be muted, so I had to write an "Appeal" email to them and explain to them how I did not improperly unmute my mic and how I did not violate any rules that had to do with copyrighting. I have no clue what's going on, but I hope they fix it.

Zloth2
Zloth2

"Nobody but me has the authority to ask for a takedown of Necrodancer music on Twitch,"

Wrong.  Only you (or whoever owns the copyright) has the authority to sue over the copyright.  If Twitch hasn't been given that permission then they've got to make a reasonable attempt to take it down.  Otherwise anyone who didn't want to have their work distributed would have to contact each and every service out there to tell them to enforce their copyright.

ecter1216
ecter1216

People now aday are to damn entitled to free shit. Law is law, get over it.

xcollector
xcollector

You know all this "thinking about switching" isn't going to change the world. The content providers should just shut up and switch. Twitch will change their ways only after everyone has left and doesn't care about returning because they are part of Google now. The sooner people switch the better off everyone will be.

dramaticlookguy
dramaticlookguy

@tableofjapan  If just talking to girls and getting BJs was that easy, we wouldn’t need video games! XD

Nah, I’m with you though. Never really understood the point of twitch either. However ‘Twitch plays pokemon’ was pretty cool as a social experiment.

chronoschris
chronoschris

@tableofjapan


Oh my god, you're right.  What have I been doing with myself all these years?    Been wasting my life away enjoying myself with all these hobbies when I could been outside getting free BJs?!  Shiit.

istuffedsunny
istuffedsunny

Twitch is only good for live content now. If you want VODs, they will be either muted or deleted 2 weeks after air. I wonder if it will survive

chronoschris
chronoschris

@istuffedsunny


I don't think the VODs concern people that much, at least not on twitch.  It's just the thought of Google incorporating this automated copyright system into the live streaming also if that is even possible and this just seems like the first step into a long  line of crappy filled features google is about to introduce to Twitch. 

jaoman9
jaoman9

on a gaming stream website where pretty much all audio is copyrighted... well i guess no one is ever going to watch a past broadcast ever again.

chronoschris
chronoschris

@jaoman9


Aside from the commentary but you're right the entire game's content is copyrighted.  They might as well close down the entire website which would be absurd. 

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

Step forward, those who would serve, for an army will be raised. The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests and cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened, spoils will be enjoyed. Blood will be shed. The police will survive as they learn to survive true justice. This great Internet… it will endure. The Internet will survive. 

Aero_Slasher
Aero_Slasher

If you're against this level of content regulation, start moving over to Hitbox. You need to show that Google is operating Twitch all wrong and that there's literally no difference between it and YouTube now as a streaming service (something I think is the ultimate end-game of this: Twitch being absorbed into YouTube.)


ContentID is a batshit system, but any YouTube user could easily tell you that.

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@Aero_Slasher Hitbox will just do it in a year or so, it's the law of the land, not Google. Take it up with copyright law

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@chronoschris  And 10 viewers you won't have because of a fragmented market.


Here's a more profound point: no one cares about you gaming. Stop broadcasting at all.


Then you won't worry about getting muted.

chronoschris
chronoschris

@rogerpdaultry


If that truly was the case then twitch tv wouldn't be as popular as it is.  Perhaps you should take your own advice and do a simple google search.  

45 MILLION VIEWERS on twitch.  Try again.

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@chronoschris Not watching you. You'll never be a gaming star. You will always have your friends sign on to your website, but run it in the background pretending to watch yours, but they secretly don't care. 

REALITY HURTS

Aero_Slasher
Aero_Slasher

@rogerpdaultry @chronoschris This is how I usually treat Twitch anyway. Good background noise if it's a friend, but very few times do I actually watch. Even speedruns have lost their luster since you realize it's mostly the same nonsense every time.

chronoschris
chronoschris

@rogerpdaultry @chronoschris


I don't plan on being a gaming star because that is not what game broadcasting is all about.   There is much more to it than that.  But of course I don't expect someone on google's payroll to know that much. 

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@chronoschris You stream because your dopey friends think they are interested. You think SOMEONE is interested. They aren't. They give you just enough attention so you don't shoot them up.

Aero_Slasher
Aero_Slasher

@rogerpdaultry @Aero_Slasher If only it was that easy to overhaul copyright law. Sadly, things only get done nowadays with billions of dollars into the backpockets of people in key positions. Only way to fix it is a massive overhaul of the entire government.

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@Aero_Slasher Government was not forward thinking at all when it comes to copyright law. How is it that every other business aside from the entertainment business has to adapt, consolidate, and trim? Why are they invincible? Ridiculous. 

chronoschris
chronoschris

@rogerpdaultry @chronoschris


Now you're just resorting to petty insults.  Disappointing.  Your last response was simply "please do a google search kthx".   No point in arguing with you.  Thank you for confirming you're  just a child. 

rogerpdaultry
rogerpdaultry

@chronoschris Why would I do the work to prove you're wrong? Numerous lawsuits have plagued Twitch, Justin.TV, Google, and Vimeo. In fact, Vimeo made the switch recently. Also, Google doesn't technically own Twitch (yet). It hasn't been confirmed other than a rumor.


The fact of the matter is, you're not important. That's not an insult. That's a fact. Move along.

chronoschris
chronoschris

@rogerpdaultry @chronoschris


Neither are you important for that matter.  But you still don't get it.  Game streaming is not solely about raising ones own importance.  Did it ever occur to you that people might do it because it's fun? Wow.. *mind blown*

meatz666
meatz666

So, where is the Fair Use in all of this? I can't use a 30-sec song in my video as a bgm?

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

We knew this was gonna happen. Time to move to ustream...

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

@rogerpdaultry @DarkNeoBahamut This is just Google doing their copyright thing, Twitch worked just fine for 3 years with no issues until Google bought them. So as far as Ustream isn't bought by Google, it will be fine.

lambda1020
lambda1020

Most streamers won't jump ship now but as soon as they start touching the money people will start looking for alternative streaming options.

And you know it won't be long till they figure out a way to leach money of streamers.

lambda1020
lambda1020

Most streamers won't jump ship unless YouTube touches the money. The moment that happens people are gonna start looking for alternative streaming options.

And you now it won't be long till YouTube finds a way to leach money off streamers.