Twitch, the online video streaming service, has been growing rapidly in recent years. And now amid rumors of a takeover by YouTube, Twitch has made some odd choices for how the site is going to deal with music copyright issues and archived video.
The official blog post about the music copyright changes states: “Starting today, Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio. We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners.”
This changes only applies to archived streams, not live content. Twitch has partnered with Audible Magic, an automated content recognition company, to search through archived streams. If any infringing music is found, that chunk of video will have its audio muted — even if it’s 30 minutes.
While the acquisition of Twitch is still unconfirmed by either company, this seems like the kind of thing YouTube would do. Indeed, as the conflict between YouTube’s “Let’s Play” creators and copyright holders continues; the content ID system has become major a point of contention.
“Let’s Play” content often operates in a legal grey area when it comes to music. The whole point is to add commentary to a video game, which often contains copyrighted content. Whether this is fair use or not is the main sticking point.
Twitch is also removing the ability to archive livestreams permanently, with deletions beginning in three weeks. Users will be able to clip highlights, and anything already archived as a highlight will be saved indefinitely. However, standard users will only be able to save streams for up to 14 days before they’re deleted. Twitch justifies this by saying that most users that would care to watch an archived stream generally do so within 14 days.
The hint of YouTube arises again as the blog post mentions that there is a YouTube Exporter function which can be used to store your videos indefinitely. This feature crashed within hours as users rushed to export their video before deletion began. And users may find themselves exporting silent video if they don’t beat the music silencer to the punch.
Twitch and YouTube may continue to offer no comment on the rumored $1 billion acquisition, but these moves hint at the potential for an announcement coming soon. Either way, Twitch may be gearing itself up to play at the same level as YouTube. Sp maybe the rumors are true.