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Twitch Implements Controversial New Policy Changes

Notably, a system to detect audio-based copyright infringement.

Twitch announced several big policy changes today, the most controversial of which involves a service that scans archived videos for copyrighted music, and muting 30 minutes of the video for each infraction.

"We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners," said the company in a blog post.

The copyright technology scans videos in 30-minute chunks, and if any infringing music is found, the entire 30 minutes is muted. This only impacts archives, however, and does not extend to livestreams. It's not hard to imagine that's coming at a later date but simply not possible yet.

This has already created some pretty odd situations on the service, including Twitch's own streams being hit by copyright sweeps.

Though it hasn't been confirmed that Google is purchasing the streaming service, the company's policy changes today sounds awfully similar to what's rolled out on YouTube with its Content ID system.

The other changes involve its archive (VOD) system. In the past, Twitch allowed all users to save archived broadcasts indefinitely, but that's no longer the case. Normal Twitch users can have broadcasts saved for up to 14 days, while Turbo (paid) users can have them archived for 60 days. Either way, it's no longer forever. Highlight reels, used to spotlight a channel's best moments, are saved indefinitely, but are now limited to a maximum length of two hours. That will likely have an impact on speedrunning players.

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420 Comments
Posted by Giantstalker

With this Twitch debacle, the online struggle to protect copyright continues to go as quickly and smoothly as the Hundred Years' War. Wonderful.

Posted by selbie

MONETIZE THE TEENS

Edited by theanticitizen

Also I'll be switching over to either Hitbox or Azubu but first I'll do a stream with no audio but music. It's really frustrating because I always tell people to search out the music I'm playing. Encouraging them to purchase the music I stream

Posted by spraynardtatum

@lyisa said:

I would be shocked if in a month anybody even cares about this and twitch isn't still the biggest video game streaming site.

Literally nothing about viewership and number of streamers will change.

Sadly... I wouldn't be surprised either. As passionate and as intense as the internet can be with stuff like this, it can be just as equally amnesic/complacent.

That's the spirit!

Posted by villainy

@bacongames: I understand where you're coming from but even if that were to be implemented I believe you'd end up with automated "flag" button clickers receiving the message. Having to manage the potential infringement notices as they come in undermines what I imagine is a huge selling point for content id systems. Set it up once, register your content in to be fingerprinted, and it just goes.

A bigger problem remains content being registered by people who aren't the actual copyright holders or in some cases content that is actually public domain already. The automated systems absolutely have a "shoot first and ask questions later" methodology as you said. The vetting process for registering content with these systems seems to be extremely lacking or completely non-existent.

Posted by SomeJerk

Posted by ajamafalous

How nice of them to give me three whole weeks to download all of my archives from the last two years. God, they can fuck right off with this shit. Google is fucking terrible, and fuck anyone who tries to say otherwise. They ruined Youtube and now they're ruining Twitch.

Posted by SgtSphynx

@villainy: I think it probably leans more non-existent than just lacking.

Posted by Dustpan

Bravo Google. Bravo.

Edited by BaconGames

@villainy said:

@bacongames: I understand where you're coming from but even if that were to be implemented I believe you'd end up with automated "flag" button clickers receiving the message. Having to manage the potential infringement notices as they come in undermines what I imagine is a huge selling point for content id systems. Set it up once, register your content in to be fingerprinted, and it just goes.

A bigger problem remains content being registered by people who aren't the actual copyright holders or in some cases content that is actually public domain already. The automated systems absolutely have a "shoot first and ask questions later" methodology as you said. The vetting process for registering content with these systems seems to be extremely lacking or completely non-existent.

Right. I also see your point that even if it wasn't implemented in the first degree, eventually automation would be introduced in the second step resulting in a lot of the same outcomes anyway. That and to my earlier point, you're spot on about the second bit. It's destined to be a frustrating system if it gives right of way to claimants without much regard for validity but leaves broadcasters with the burden of sorting out the mess.

Still, I have to imagine there's some way to do this that's sensible without having to hire hundreds or thousands of people to serve as groundfloor moderators assuming such a system is necessary. For a content range as wide as YouTube I can see it but with games, I don't recall a rash of streams on Twitch which do nothing but stream music or movies. If we give the broadcasters a bit of leeway, it would probably just work with a small-ish moderation team and some tools. Then again, I'm sure this is not entirely about just finding a system that works best for them and their userbase.

I suppose it's another thing to circumvent or work around while we hopefully move toward something more satisfactory in practice or law.

Edited by TyCobb

@ajamafalous said:

How nice of them to give me three whole weeks to download all of my archives from the last two years. God, they can fuck right off with this shit. Google is fucking terrible, and fuck anyone who tries to say otherwise. They ruined Youtube and now they're ruining Twitch.

I don't like this anymore than you, but there would not be YouTube if Google did not buy them. It was not profitable at all when they acquired it. They had to start policing copyright because they were starting to get sued by companies (remember Viacom sued them). Too many videos go up for each one to be hand watched so there had to be some automated process to catch them. There really isn't a whole lot that can be done except for this bullshit which really sucks.

I would not be surprised at all if companies were just sitting around waiting for the right moment to pounce on Twitch. This is a preemptive move.

Posted by Virtualpolecat

@lyisa said:

I would be shocked if in a month anybody even cares about this and twitch isn't still the biggest video game streaming site.

Literally nothing about viewership and number of streamers will change.

That's False. CosmoWright a famous speedrunner is switching sites. That is one of many speedrunners that will change sites because of the 2 hour VOD limit.

Posted by hoonsama

Help us Mike Ross!

Posted by SgtSphynx

This just reminded me of all the times that the GB crew has said that they can only play 30 seconds of something before they need to pay for it

Posted by spraynardtatum
@tycobb said:

@ajamafalous said:

How nice of them to give me three whole weeks to download all of my archives from the last two years. God, they can fuck right off with this shit. Google is fucking terrible, and fuck anyone who tries to say otherwise. They ruined Youtube and now they're ruining Twitch.

I don't like this anymore than you, but there would not be YouTube if Google did not buy them. It was not profitable at all when they acquired it. They had to start policing copyright because they were starting to get sued by companies (remember Viacom sued them). Too many videos go up for each one to be hand watched so there had to be some automated process to catch them. There really isn't a whole lot that can be done except for this bullshit which really sucks.

I would not be surprised at all if companies were just sitting around waiting for the right moment to pounce on Twitch. This is a preemptive move.

BULLSHIT! Youtube was the greatest thing I'd ever seen before Google bought them.

Edited by TruthTellah

@lyisa said:

I would be shocked if in a month anybody even cares about this and twitch isn't still the biggest video game streaming site.

Literally nothing about viewership and number of streamers will change.

That's False. CosmoWright a famous speedrunner is switching sites. That is one of many speedrunners that will change sites because of the 2 hour VOD limit.

Wait, where is Cosmo going?

What about http://static-cdn.jtvnw.net/jtv_user_pictures/chansub-global-emoticon-3b96527b46b1c941-40x30.png ?

Posted by TyCobb

@virtualpolecat said:

@lyisa said:

I would be shocked if in a month anybody even cares about this and twitch isn't still the biggest video game streaming site.

Literally nothing about viewership and number of streamers will change.

That's False. CosmoWright a famous speedrunner is switching sites. That is one of many speedrunners that will change sites because of the 2 hour VOD limit.

Wait, where is Cosmo going?

What about ?

Hopefully someplace where there is no emote support. Ugh.... =)

Posted by NinetySevenA

@patrickklepek: I wouldn't mind seeing the opinions of Devs and Video game musicians.

Posted by kindpixel

Here we go again with the bitching. Jesus, guys. What did you expect? Even if you run to other services, eventually they will get big enough to get the attention of the big copyright owners, and be forced to change their services.

You should be happy that we at least got away with safety on LIVE streams. This is no different than any service out there, as stupid as it sounds that people would listen to a VOD just to hear music, its still what companies want. To expect Twitch to do anything differently is absurd and shows a lack of understanding.

Posted by NoK

@tycobb said:

@ajamafalous said:

How nice of them to give me three whole weeks to download all of my archives from the last two years. God, they can fuck right off with this shit. Google is fucking terrible, and fuck anyone who tries to say otherwise. They ruined Youtube and now they're ruining Twitch.

I don't like this anymore than you, but there would not be YouTube if Google did not buy them. It was not profitable at all when they acquired it. They had to start policing copyright because they were starting to get sued by companies (remember Viacom sued them). Too many videos go up for each one to be hand watched so there had to be some automated process to catch them. There really isn't a whole lot that can be done except for this bullshit which really sucks.

I would not be surprised at all if companies were just sitting around waiting for the right moment to pounce on Twitch. This is a preemptive move.

BULLSHIT! Youtube was the greatest thing I'd ever seen before Google bought them.

I don't believe this individual is disagreeing with you. What they are trying to say is Youtube would no longer be around if someone had not bought them and put a leash on it so to speak. With the amount of copyrighted music/movies/tv etc that was being uploaded they would have been sued into oblivion. The world is a very litigious place.

Edited by spraynardtatum
Edited by villainy

@virtualpolecat said:

That's False. CosmoWright a famous speedrunner is switching sites. That is one of many speedrunners that will change sites because of the 2 hour VOD limit.

Oh man. Now I want that @patrickklepek interview even more! Bring on the dump truck!

Edit: Better yet! Bring on the Bombin' the AM guest!

Posted by MB

I wonder if Twitch and/or Google have been threatened with some kind of lawsuit from one or more of the major record labels or RIAA regarding usage of artists' music, or if this is more of a preemptive strike just in case they may get sued someday.

Moderator
Edited by Winsord

This is more the death of archived content on Twitch, and less so the death of the site itself. If they ever have to do live content-ID matching then we're in real trouble. Honestly, they already killed what worth the archives had earlier today, so tacking on this broken content-ID system doesn't even matter. People will move if a better service begins to exist, but I don't think the archives are enough to get most people to move. It sucks for me because I pretty much only watch archived video on Twitch, but such is life.

Twitch is still a good streaming site, it's just that now they're only a streaming site, and nothing more.

Posted by SpaceCouncil

bunch of bullshit crap, all that streamed music is a friggin ad for the bands and the streaming companies, pandora, last.fm or just strait youtube. it doesn't make sense copyright infringement my ass. This is more like "We're not interested in money only protecting the products and the companies who make them" I commonly hear music on a stream that I like then look up and purchase it. They will undoubtedly lose money from this.

Edited by development

Holy fuck, this is dumb. Games license music all the time. Every time that audio is played the video is going to be muted? HO-LY FUCK, that. is. dumb.

Cannot wait for someone to overtake Twitch. I really hope people have the balls to stop using Twitch. This is just the dumbest fucking shit.

Posted by ThePhilatron

I loved you twitch. Goodbye.

Edited by BaconGames

As a counter to my own using of past evidence from YouTube to anticipate problems with the policy, I can go right now and find thousands and thousands of whole albums and episodes of TV shows on YouTube. It goes to show that this shit is not perfect despite their best intentions. And I want to be clear here, I think that's a good thing.

Which brings me back to the point that the archiving change is more immediately damaging. Certainly the music copyright policy is problematic in an academic sense but given that it's also a muting system and not a takedown system (which makes sense considering it's not an upload service) there's not as much "lost" as it would be if the VOD's were taken down. Whereas that's exactly what would happen if someone let their archived videos lapse. Then again I'm sure the community is going to adapt and be more mindful of redundant archiving in the future. Still, with the limited length of time and content ID together it's a huge blow to the utility of VOD's on the site.

In a way you could kind of see them trying to get away from archiving when they announced PS4 accounts could not have automatic archiving. I can see how they're really trying anything to lighten the load of all that data but they have to know it's not in the user's favor.

On a related note, it makes me wonder what would happen if you take a muted VOD right now and uploaded the archive to YouTube. I bet it would be just as it was.

Edited by spraynardtatum
@nok said:

@spraynardtatum said:
@tycobb said:

@ajamafalous said:

How nice of them to give me three whole weeks to download all of my archives from the last two years. God, they can fuck right off with this shit. Google is fucking terrible, and fuck anyone who tries to say otherwise. They ruined Youtube and now they're ruining Twitch.

I don't like this anymore than you, but there would not be YouTube if Google did not buy them. It was not profitable at all when they acquired it. They had to start policing copyright because they were starting to get sued by companies (remember Viacom sued them). Too many videos go up for each one to be hand watched so there had to be some automated process to catch them. There really isn't a whole lot that can be done except for this bullshit which really sucks.

I would not be surprised at all if companies were just sitting around waiting for the right moment to pounce on Twitch. This is a preemptive move.

BULLSHIT! Youtube was the greatest thing I'd ever seen before Google bought them.

I don't believe this individual is disagreeing with you. What they are trying to say is Youtube would no longer be around if someone had not bought them and put a leash on it so to speak. With the amount of copyrighted music/movies/tv etc that was being uploaded they would have been sued into oblivion. The world is a very litigious place.

How do we know Youtube would have lost though? Sure there were lawsuits but none of that ever fully played out. Google just delayed things and then willingly buckled to copyright holders once they bought Youtube.

Nobody knows what Youtube would be right now if Google didn't buy them but I am of the belief that they absolutely wouldn't be dead.

Posted by sloopy75

Follow the money people. They are already making the next thing for everyone to flock to.

Straight out of Goodfellas. Light a match.

Posted by Slag

Goodbye Twitch, it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by Sinusoidal

Really, this just shows how much archaic copyright laws need to change.

Posted by Hailinel

@d_w said:

I don't know why Google thinks they can automate this sort of process.

Because it's easier and more cost efficient to let a computer do what should in all honesty be a human's job.

Posted by ajamafalous
@winsord said:

This is more the death of archived content on Twitch, and less so the death of the site itself. If they ever have to do live content-ID matching then we're in real trouble. Honestly, they already killed what worth the archives had earlier today, so tacking on this broken content-ID system doesn't even matter. People will move if a better service begins to exist, but I don't think the archives are enough to get most people to move. It sucks for me because I pretty much only watch archived video on Twitch, but such is life.

The archives are pivotal to speedrunners (you know, the group that put twitch on the scene in the first place), which is why they are all already talking on twitter about switching sites. hitbox.tv has been coming up a lot.

Posted by rkofan87

I can understand the mute thing but getting rid of the archives is dumb.

Edited by GaspoweR

@ajamafalous said:
@winsord said:

This is more the death of archived content on Twitch, and less so the death of the site itself. If they ever have to do live content-ID matching then we're in real trouble. Honestly, they already killed what worth the archives had earlier today, so tacking on this broken content-ID system doesn't even matter. People will move if a better service begins to exist, but I don't think the archives are enough to get most people to move. It sucks for me because I pretty much only watch archived video on Twitch, but such is life.

The archives are pivotal to speedrunners (you know, the group that put twitch on the scene in the first place), which is why they are all already talking on twitter about switching sites. hitbox.tv has been coming up a lot.

Yeah, however in regards to the larger user base of Twitch as a whole, only a very small percentage of archived full broadcast content is ever rewatched and most of it is not even watched at all, thus that content is pretty much just taking up space though they do admit that space isn't the issue but rather they wanted to also move their videos over to a different format other than FLV that can also be viewed in mobile devices that don't support Flash (e.g. iOS devices). Thus some of the consequences of this involve archived content being sacrificed since it'd be difficult to try to convert ALL the old archive content to a more mobile friendly format (probably HTML5 based video).

Now they're actively encouraging their users who stream to upload their broadcasts to other sites (i.e. YouTube) in order to be saved indefinitely but YouTube also has duration restrictions of their own.

All around the situation is very distressing and also very inconvenient.

Edited by Winsord

@ajamafalous said:
@winsord said:

This is more the death of archived content on Twitch, and less so the death of the site itself. If they ever have to do live content-ID matching then we're in real trouble. Honestly, they already killed what worth the archives had earlier today, so tacking on this broken content-ID system doesn't even matter. People will move if a better service begins to exist, but I don't think the archives are enough to get most people to move. It sucks for me because I pretty much only watch archived video on Twitch, but such is life.

The archives are pivotal to speedrunners (you know, the group that put twitch on the scene in the first place), which is why they are all already talking on twitter about switching sites. hitbox.tv has been coming up a lot.

I know it is, but sadly they're a small slice of the pie now. The high view games on Twitch are League, Hearthstone, Minecraft, CS:GO and DotA. Obviously there are exceptions when things like AGDQ run, or when a site like Giant Bomb come in and put Mario Party up in the most popular games for a couple of hours, but those five titles are a good rule of thumb. Twitch makes their money off those games being their bread and butter, not the weird exceptions that pop up occasionally for small periods of time. Obviously the self-destruction of archives today is not a helpful thing, but the archives of those games are significantly less important and less relevant to the people watching those bread and butter games on Twitch.

The speedrunning community was really important to Twitch in its infancy, but they're considered small fries now except for two or three weeks of the year. This situation sucks, but it's the Google approach to things: cater to the more casual/mainstream users, ignore all complaints of the hardcore/superusers. Dumb down functionality, dumb down the UI, and if a large percentage isn't using something then just cut it.

Posted by mithical

@peritus said:

Im guessing the speedrunning community wont be using twitch anymore for much longer. Record runs no longer being archived and a 2 hour limit on highlights. This is pretty shitty, hope AGDQ/SGDQ Vods find a new home.

While this is generally pretty shitty all around, you'll be happy to know SDA has always archived their own marathons. Keep an eye on their site and SGDQ2014 should pop up on the main page within a month or two.

Posted by TruthTellah

@tycobb said:

@truthtellah said:

@virtualpolecat said:

@lyisa said:

I would be shocked if in a month anybody even cares about this and twitch isn't still the biggest video game streaming site.

Literally nothing about viewership and number of streamers will change.

That's False. CosmoWright a famous speedrunner is switching sites. That is one of many speedrunners that will change sites because of the 2 hour VOD limit.

Wait, where is Cosmo going?

What about ?

Hopefully someplace where there is no emote support. Ugh.... =)

What do you have against emotes? http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/scale_super/9/92448/2636108-2634134-wow3.gifhttp://static-cdn.jtvnw.net/jtv_user_pictures/chansub-global-emoticon-f6c13c7fc0a5c93d-36x30.png

Edited by EXTomar

Google is stuck in the position of being the point person for the terrible people at RIAA/MPAA/alphabet soup who demand complete and utter control over everything that can possibly touch their precious precious precious IP. They either do this or get raked over the courts who are much more sympathetic to old tyme music industry than tech giants.

That said, I would have rather seen Google and Twitch implement an open system where if some company is really interested in defending their IP, they provide an interface for them to scan and apply their own algorithm to it to flag. This puts the onus on those guys instead of the service provider and it becomes easier to figure out who is being the ahole and what to avoid. And importantly if it turns out that there is abuse with poor or bad claims, they can suspend their access to flagging system. If those guys want to be in obscurity unless they get paid then I'm all for it but they should be responsible for telling "us" what is not okay to use instead of finding out later.

Edited by KingdanglerBK

As long as Mario party still can be played on Giant Bomb I'm okay with anything!

Stop playing Copy right material during a profitable video, you are breaking the law - IMO

Posted by ZZoMBiE13

Well, I have cancelled my Twitch Turbo account and my subscription to Loading Ready Run's channel.

Shame about LRR, I really like those guys.

Posted by rkofan87

@lurkero said:

Looks like other streaming services may have to get more server space soon. Google's takedown policy is too anti-user and what's the point of utilizing Google's infrastructure if stream archives aren't permanent? At least allow paid users to archive videos indefinitely.

this

Posted by AcidBrandon18

Kappa?

Posted by ZombiePie
@mb said:

I wonder if Twitch and/or Google have been threatened with some kind of lawsuit from one or more of the major record labels or RIAA regarding usage of artists' music, or if this is more of a preemptive strike just in case they may get sued someday.

Most likely what happened is that their lawyers, who are fresh from their lawsuit and settlement with Viacom, examined Twitch and said "well this is a walking lawsuit."

Moderator
Edited by TyCobb

@truthtellah: lol. I really despise the chat spam it creates. Pretty sure it's just an age thing, but I really do find it annoying. They basically turned emotes into punctuation as every sentence seems to end in some face.

Edited by TruthTellah

@tycobb said:

@truthtellah: lol. I really despise the chat spam it creates. Pretty sure it's just an age thing, but I really do find it annoying. They basically turned emotes into punctuation as every sentence seems to end in some face.

I think it depends on the stream. Many discourage the abuse of emoticons. I think they can be fun, but preferences vary stream to stream. For example, Giant Bomb allows them but sets a limit at one of a single emote in a comment. I'd prefer something more like 3, but it's not a big deal.

For streams like Cosmo where he basically allows and even encourages overuse of emoticons, it can certainly get out of hand, but it's his chat. If he thinks it's fun, then more power to him. Many chats have different standards, and for me personally, I like a healthy balance. Someone like Banansaurus_Rex knows how to encourage a balance, as people know when it's time to unload with emotes and when it's just time to tell him to stop being garbage at videogames. heh. (he's one of the best gamers I've seen, but it's fun to talk trash with him) Puncayshun loves for emotes and repeat messages to flood his chat, and at times, you don't actually see any real chat at all. LethalFrag is known to discourage emotes outside of instances where someone subscribes or something funny happens. I like that streamers have generally had the freedom to set their own preferred standards when it comes to emotes.

Posted by Boom_goes_the_dynamite

So apparently there is a Twitch "ask me anything" on reddit tomorrow. That should be interesting.