Twitch Details Changes To Stream Archiving, Audio Content ID Policies

by Matt Helgeson on Aug 08, 2014 at 05:07 AM

The popular game livestreaming channel Twitch is making changes to its video-on-demand stream archiving services and is taking new steps to enforce copyrights of audio and music.

This week, Twitch released a statement on its official blog regarding changes to how it is handling archived livestreams. Citing data that shows that livestreams past 14 days since creation generation almost no traffic, it is now limiting how long streams are archived.

From now on, past streamed will be archived for 14 days for regular Twitch users. Twitch Turbo subscribers and Twitch Partners streams will be archived for 60 days. However, highlight clips will now be saved indefinitely. Twitch has also lifted the time limit on highlight clips.

Secondly, Twitch has partnered with the content ID and enforcement company Audible Magic to ensure that licensed and copyrighted music, audio, and ambient sound is not heard in archived streams and highlights. Here is the statement provided by Twitch detailing this new policy:

"We've partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned or controlled by clients of Audible Magic. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible Magic database is detected ("Flagged Content"), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.

The Audible Magic technology will scan for third party music in 30 minute blocks - if Audible Magic does not detect its clients' music, that portion of the VOD will not be muted. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted."

It's important to note that Audible Magic will only be scanning audio content on archived streams and video-on-demand content - livestreams will not be affected.

If a user feels that their archived content has been unfairly muted by Audible Magic, they will be able to appeal the decision. To help streamline this process, Twitch will be adding an "Appeal" button on VOD content for creators. However, the company does say, "We recognize that the system is not yet perfect. We want to make this system as fair and unobtrusive as possible, and we greatly appreciate your help."

This audio content ID enforcement could affect those who play copyrighted music underneath their streams - something that is against the current Twitch terms of service. It could also affect people who archive streams of themselves playing series like Grand Theft Auto which make heavy use of licensed music.

[Source: Twitch (1, 23)]

Our Take:
These changes have not been welcomed with open arms by the Twitch community. However, it is clear that the company is trying to bring themselves into accordance with current music licensing and copyright law. This also lends even more credibility to the rumors that the company is readying itself for purchase by Google, which employs a similar content ID and copyright enforcement system for YouTube.