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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 Borklund

Judging by the vast majority of the comments you'd be inclined to believe that a significant portion of giant bomb users live in anarcho-socialist communes, holy moly.

Posted by keddren

@patrickklepek From their AMA. Yep this is pretty much a joke to them.

That's the proper response to a question like that. No, seriously.

Online
Posted by Jimbozu
Edited by Deadlydog

FUCK CORPORATIONS,FUCK CONTENT ID, FUCK COPYRIGHT, FUCK DMCA, FUCK IT ALL!!!!! STOP TRYING TO RUIN MY GOD DAMN INTERNET! I'LL FUCKING FIGHT YOU ALL IF I HAVE TO!

Posted by Borklund

@deadlydog: Yeah man, totally. Let's get together at the nearest Starbucks and write poetry about it.

Edited by Fattony12000
Edited by vhold

It's interesting that this is the straw that breaks the camel's back. I thought the large amount of latency added to streams was really much more damaging than any of this, as it made the kind of almost-realtime interaction that was there before impossible. It was a much more fundamental blow to the service.

Edited by BradBrains

@deadlydog: licensing music is expensive. and its money most streamers don't have.

also because you dont like the entity that owns the rights to something they don't have a legal right to choose what happens to it? ok...

Posted by Deadlydog

@darkstalker: it's not about licensing it, its about just being able to use it and have money cut from the cash you make go to them. You should not need to go through some bullshit like that. I never said anything about them not having the right to do what they want with it. I just don't agree with corporations, they are too money focused and not service focused.

Posted by BradBrains

@deadlydog: license means permit to use duder.

and I think you should need to get the permission of the person who made something before you use it to help give you monetization.

hating all corporations because their focus is to make money is pretty childish. for something specific they do? sure. but blind hate for the successful is not the answer.

Posted by Jensonb

Did anyone mange to find an explanation in the AMA for the 30 minute chunks? That part specifically seems like the most inexplicable, indefensible part of this and I don't think "technical limitation" is a decent excuse for that since if that's a result of technical issues then their 'solution' is flat out broken and they shouldn't use it until it's fixed.

Posted by LikeaSsur

What age do we live in where updating so people can't use licensed songs for free "controversial?"

Edited by Brackynews

@guanophobic said:

@robo said:

For the record, the VOD expiration date makes perfect sense. Those videos had to have been taking up INSANE amounts of storage space.

And a incentive to just archive to youtube? Or is that functionality not in?

You guys realise you're talking in circles right? If Twitch is acquired by Google, twitch datacenters become google datacenters. And Youtube doesn't purge. Not to mention that Twitch customers are paying customers, compared to Google ad-magnets.

It doesn't matter two shits where those files are archived. What... is twitch trying to save some money on shipping its hard drives to Google? Total absurdity. There's something crazy going on behind the scenes. Yo Jared!

Posted by Supa_Kappa

The beginning of the end. Time to jump ship.

Posted by Bunny_Fire

does not Surprise me in the least. Why wouldn't Google enforce the same rules as they have on YouTube intact you might as well consider Twitch YouTube

Posted by Irvandus

@likeassur: one where in game music is getting flagged such as Dota 2's soundtrack and Crypt of the necrodancer (which isn't even out yet ). Even some international 4 vods are muted. This is the main issue.

Posted by villainy

@darkstalker: the problem is that the in game music point completely contradicts what they stated in the announcement blog. Aside from that most of the other answers are generally regurgitating information we already know, which is fine, but I was hoping that this AMA would provide some clarification on points that seem pretty simple such as the usage plans for the petabytes of storage that are being freed up for no discernible reason at this point.

According to the blog posts they're moving to 3x replication for all archives. It also suggests in pretty certain terms that they currently only keep one copy of everything according to a comment on the blog from a Twitch staff member "With these changes, a single hard drive failure also won't wipe out the VOD/highlight forever :)". Going from forever to 14-60 days is shitty for sure but keeping only a single copy of customer data is terrifying.

@jensonb said:

Did anyone mange to find an explanation in the AMA for the 30 minute chunks? That part specifically seems like the most inexplicable, indefensible part of this and I don't think "technical limitation" is a decent excuse for that since if that's a result of technical issues then their 'solution' is flat out broken and they shouldn't use it until it's fixed.

They keep all archives in 30 minute chunks. There's definitely a technical hurdle involved in identifying and muting only a specified portion of an archived FLV.

All of their "solutions" here are poorly thought-out and hastily implemented bandages to either make themselves more attractive to a potential buyer or to fall in line with an unannounced new owner. This is one pig that's now caked in lipstick.

Posted by villainy

Oh my... Sorry for the tweet spam but this was interesting considering Ultradavid is actually a lawyer. I'll go ahead and assume nothing comes of it but it would be interesting.

Posted by Nethlem

@deadlydog: license means permit to use duder.

and I think you should need to get the permission of the person who made something before you use it to help give you monetization.

hating all corporations because their focus is to make money is pretty childish. for something specific they do? sure. but blind hate for the successful is not the answer.

Focusing on money is the actual childish thing to do, too many people have forgotten that money is only a means to an end, that being trade and distribution of goods. Instead money has become the new "God" and corporations are its churches.

People are so driven by greed for money, they've lost all touch with reality. Fukushima is still happily leaking away into the pacific, because there ain't enough "money" to fix that damn mess and that mess is only one of many driven by greed.

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

I couldn't care less about money if the actual essential things would be covered for everybody, food, water, shelter, companionship, humans are simple like that, we don't need much more. And no: You don't need any money to supply these things, like i said before: Money is only a tool and it's certainly not the most essential one.


Posted by NoK

@bigboss1911 said:

Google are like the Nazi Germany of the internet at this point, I remember when it was just a simple fucking search engine. They already pretty much ruined youtube, now they're killing Twitch by enforcing these audio-copywrite bots to mute videos, basically giving the finger to the people who made said websites huge in the first place. Best course of action is to just jump ship to another site.

Yeah, this is exactly like Nazi Germany. I agree.

Oh man tears in my eyes.

Posted by confideration

We haven't had much gamer drama on the Internet lately, so I'd say we were due for this one.

Posted by krelmoon

We are so used to watching streams now that we may not have considered what a livestream is... legally.

A live stream is a performance of a video game streamed live on the internet for everyone to see.

Copyrighted games that large corporations sell to end users for as much as 60 buck a pop ( or nothing depending on the game )

Can we be surprised that audio is being muted when twitch as a site is one huge copyright lawsuit waiting to happen.

Everything ever streamed on twitch other than by the developer or publisher of the game is a copyright infringement.

The only Legal hope that any streaming had of not being potentially sued was not being big enough for the holders to care.

Fair use doesn't make any exceptions for talking over or "playing" content.

Twitch was technically illegal from day one.

If they didn't intend to make a legal fight over "transformative works" (eg adding something to the content by talking over it or playing it) then why did they start the company in the first place!

We can run but we can't hide...

Until a legal battle over Fair Use is fought and won in the courts streaming has no legal standing.

To the law you're just violating copyright whenever you stream a game.

If hitbox or ustream gets big enough it will happen there too.

We need a large tech company with money ( Google would have made sense if they had not caved to holders already ) to fund a legal battle to redefine what fair use means in the world today.

Edited by BradBrains

@nethlem: sure a lot of corporations only care about the bottom line. How good or bad this is debatable but I don't totally disagree with your statements even though I felt they were slightly ostentatious.

But I think the anger is misdirected by some. It's the companies that sue to get the money from companies smaller than themselves who can afford to fight back not the company doing what they can to prevent that so they can stay in business.

To be clear I'm not pro the changes but I can certainly see why they are happening. It sucks but that's what happens when something turns into big business

Posted by bboymaestro

The plot thickens...

Posted by spraynardtatum

The end result of this is that eventually we're going to have to just pay up front for sites like Youtube and Twitch.

Anything that shows content which happens to have a logo or sound or character that some company has already pissed on and marked is going to be too much of a cock tease for copyright holders. They need to make sure to crush any beauty or happiness that their money making machines create in the real world and then turn it into more money.

I think it's interesting that people constantly complain about how gamers and millennials act entitled when big corporations and companies are baking what they're entitled to directly into the foundation of the internet.

Fuck this kind of automated system. It's cowardly and there's no reason to defend it. They don't even need to look anyone in the face. They can just change their terms and conditions and deflect outrage with corporate speak and never have to even acknowledge their own actions. This kind of system makes one side invincible and the other side weaponless.

It's OP!!

Posted by AV_Gamer

It's like Microsoft and their stupid features they were going to use for the Xbox One; if the people whom use Twitch leave the website and go somewhere else, these new policy changes will go away. But it's up to the people of Twitch to show their disappointment through action, not just leaving a bunch of angry comments.

Edited by groundbeef

@krelmoon: Good post, though I disagree with the idea that "to the law you're just violating copyright whenever you stream a game." That would require watching to be ruled as substantively equivalent to playing when it comes to games, which is quite a hard sell considering games themselves are often marketed on notions of player choice and unique experiences based on said choice (ie. character model customization, skill trees, good/evil alignments, multiple story paths/endings, etc). When it comes to just the audio/soundtrack on the other hand, they are on much firmer footing, which is probably why they're approaching this clampdown the way they are.

Having said that, I really hope this aggressive "guilty until proven innocent" stance on infringement bites Twitch in the ass hard. As usual, corporate greed is so focused on the little bit they are losing by not having absolute ability to control/monetize that they don't even realize they're fucking up the whole brand/business model that made them successful in the first place. I for one have never even heard of hitbox.tv before this, and probably would never have if Twitch hadn't done this, but guess who's getting my clicks the next time I want to watch some dota (they better have dota).

Posted by ch3burashka

@bigboss1911 said:

Google are like the Nazi Germany of the internet at this point, I remember when it was just a simple fucking search engine. They already pretty much ruined youtube, now they're killing Twitch by enforcing these audio-copywrite bots to mute videos, basically giving the finger to the people who made said websites huge in the first place. Best course of action is to just jump ship to another site.

Yeah, this is exactly like Nazi Germany. I agree.

When they came for the streams, I said nothing because I wasn't a stream.

Edited by guanophobic

You guys realise you're talking in circles right? If Twitch is acquired by Google, twitch datacenters become google datacenters. And Youtube doesn't purge. Not to mention that Twitch customers are paying customers, compared to Google ad-magnets.

It doesn't matter two shits where those files are archived. What... is twitch trying to save some money on shipping its hard drives to Google? Total absurdity. There's something crazy going on behind the scenes. Yo Jared!

They would have the same parent company, but they would still be separate entities. Twitch datacenters excel in streaming, not "long term archiving" like on youtube. In the long term, they would probably have the same type of capabilities, but that takes a shitload of time to build up.

Edited by MillaJ

@rasrimra said:

@mb said:

@dizzyhippos said:

I understand there need to do stuff like this legally, but I dont understand the timing. Why not wait until EMI or sony or whoever comes at you saying knock that shit off.

Better archive those unarchived Giantbomb twitch streams before they get dumped from the backlog.

If EMI or sony or whoever has grounds for a lawsuit, they don't need to ask anyone who is infringing on their rights to stop, they can simply file the suit. There is also no way of knowing whether these changes in Google and Twitch are a result of some back room talks between music industry attorneys and Google attorneys - part of the deal could be that this system is implemented, and it's automatic, or they're going to sue.

For sweeping changes like this to happen seemingly without notice means that Google was either compelled to do so under threat of a suit, or they were reasonably sure that they were going to be sued and decided to get proactive instead of waiting for the suit to be filed.

That brings up an entirely different issue which is Google's responsibilities to their shareholders. If Google didn't do anything about this and ended up getting sued and lost, resulting in possibly billions of hundreds of billions of dollars in fines being paid out, their shareholders would be pretty displeased and some heads would have to roll.

It does suck but I think many people saw this coming a long time ago, I'm more surprised that it didn't happen earlier.

There has to be some way to hold these copyright enthusiasts responsible for their actions. They are ruining all sorts of things on the internet for the sake of artists potentially losing money, even hurting the artists they claim to protect in the process!

This can't be a one way conversation!

Yea... I'm not an expert, but I feel like, at the end of the day, shit is just going to continue down this path until the laws (and the populace at large) start to understand and adapt to the progressing state of the world brought about by technology and the internet. People/companies currently have too much legal ammunition to fuck with things just so they can try to gain total control and squeeze a dollar out of everything within their grasp with reckless abandon.

Posted by Nethlem

@darkstalker said:

@nethlem: sure a lot of corporations only care about the bottom line. How good or bad this is debatable but I don't totally disagree with your statements even though I felt they were slightly ostentatious.

But I think the anger is misdirected by some. It's the companies that sue to get the money from companies smaller than themselves who can afford to fight back not the company doing what they can to prevent that so they can stay in business.

To be clear I'm not pro the changes but I can certainly see why they are happening. It sucks but that's what happens when something turns into big business

There is nothing "debatable" about the negative impact this purely profit-driven behavior has had, and still has, on a lot of peoples lives. Issue being that too few people actually realize those negative consequences for what they are.

As somebody working in healthcare, it sickens me to keep on witnessing how people are left to die because proper medical treatment would be "too expensive". It saddens me how the Internet, an innovation that should have lead to freedom of information and education for everybody, has been perverted into a mere tool of commercialization and disinformation.

Originally the Internet started out as humanities "Memory Alpha" for everything from education to communication on a global scale, all of it open to be accessed by everybody with the technical means.

I can still remember a time when the people on the Internet had been an actual minority. Back then we would exchange and share whatever we created or had, and we'd be happy if other people shared or referenced our work, purely for the sake of sharing. The whole idea of having "money on the Internet" sounded like pure insanity back then.


But thanks to capitalist greed and consumerism, we have turned this place of free exchange and education, into a giant virtual shopping mall, complete with CCTV and security guards.

You can label examples like that (or Fukushima) as "ostentatious" all you want, that doesn't make them any less real.

Posted by Vampire_Chibi

@somejerk: looks like they didn't test their code and that they didn't realize the impact of their actions, to me this whole thing seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Posted by robin_smith

if anyone doesnt like this migrate to livestream....hey live stream! anyone remember that? It even had inbuilt channel tools that let you broadcast when not awake or live.

Posted by HansKaosu

VODs not Streams

Edited by Unilad

This is an absolute disgrace. It's depressing and upsetting.

Twitch is dead. Long live Twitch.

Posted by Schnoo

I understand why they did this with youtube. I mean some crazy people actually create youtube playlists instead of listening to music with spotify or other similar services, but who would be dumb enough to create playlists with time stamps of some random guy playing music in the background?

Posted by BionicIguana

@vhold: The vast majority of people don't use the chat or interact with the host in any way, and therefore don't care about the delay.

Posted by BradBrains

All my favorite speed runners are going to hitbox. Better create an account.

Edited by SupberUber

As a European, Twitch never got to be a thing because of how unstable it is. Now I'll ignore it completely, even if they sort out issues they should have killed years ago.

Farewell, even more shitty service.

Posted by espgaluda

Will this affect the archives of that dude that shredded guitar licks on twitch that we saw on UPF that one time?

Edited by Brackynews

@guanophobic: That's right, and I agree from experience that VOD from Twitch has always been a bad, stuttery experience compared to silky smooth livestreams. But again, we're talking about shared parent infrastructures. Twitch and Youtube would both have the Google backbone resources behind them to leverage their expertise and make up the slack, something like Gamespot and Giant Bomb both leveraging a CBSi building and budget.

Maybe Twitch archiving is all Amazon S3 and it's a hassle to migrate? :/

@ch3burashka: Google tattooed my real name on my arm. Every time I log in to Youtube I am reminded of the shame. (It's horrible that we are saying this, but even more horrible that the metaphors work.)

@villainy: Not being an American, I'm not convinced lawsuits really solve anything, but it's nice to see developers tired of their shit being appropriated by other companies "safeguarding your Intellectual Property Rights". Newsflash, underdogs like exposure and momentum, it's how you grow.

Posted by Generic_username

All streamers should keep in mind, this service has been available completely free for a long time. Don't feel like you're entitled to these great services forever tho, shit costs money!!

Free, except, you know, twitch's cut of all the profits the streamers manage to make.

Posted by Pikapichu

@crembaw said:

The music part may as well read 'Get fucked, all of the League of Legends Streamers that made us popular.'

Beats getting fucked by possible future copyright infringement lawsuits, doncha think?

Posted by Pikapichu
@xbob42 said:

To people saying "they HAD to do this," no, they didn't. This is pre-emptive voluntary bullshit to avoid having to deal with the DMCA. Why fight to make your service better for millions when you can defer to the few who have money and lawyers?

Yeah, why? hmm... they're a business... looking to make money... but getting sued costs money... nope I'm not sure why?