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Twitch will mute music to protect copyright

Oh dear. Twitch, the video game streaming site that is most likely set to be bought out by Google for a billion dollars in the near future, has announced sweeping changes that will see whole 30 minute sections of videos on demand muted, if they are found to contain copyright protected music.

Starting today, Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio,” begins the blog post, which is worded as if Twitch is talking to a judge.

“We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners.”

To achieve the speedy takedown of any videos found to be infringing musical copyright, Twitch has teamed up with the inappropriately named, Audible Magic, which much like Youtube’s Content ID system, is an automated content recognition system. It will work in this instance, by automatically going through Twitch’s back catalogue of videos on demand and listening out for any music that is owned by a third party, be it ambient music, or in-game.

If it finds any, it will mute that part of thee video and turn volume controls off for the viewer.

Affected videos will look a bit like this

However it gets much worse, because Audible Magic’s content spotting system isn’t a finely crafted tool and will instead of muting something specific, just mute a giant 30 minute section of the video surrounding the copyright protected music.

The only real caveat here, is that this new content blocking won’t work for live streams. Though any attempts to download muted clips will still give the same result.

Twitch also explained how some people may be hit with mutings unfairly, but that that was just an unfortunate side effect of this move: “Please note that Audio Recognition is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.  It may return false positives or miss content from copyright owners who do not work with Audible Magic.”

It then went on to suggest that streamers simply used creative commons or unlicensed music for their videos instead and in the event of a false positive, they should file a counter-notification in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Understandably, many users aren’t pleased. Fortunately though, if you’d like to tell Twitch what you think, you can do so in a Reddit AMA later today at 6:30PM.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: Just like Content ID, Twitch’s new system is guilty until proven innocent. Quite a shame, though I imagine this was a stipulation of a sale to Google: implement something automated to counter any lawsuits it might be struck with in the future. 

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