news\ Aug 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Twitch CEO responds to fan outcry over new copyright rules


If you're a Twitch regular, then you're probably already aware of the changes made to the video game livestreaming website. If not, here's a quick rundown. Yesterday, Twitch announced it is partnering with Audible Magic, a software company which works with the recorded music industry, to implement technology that scans on-demand videos for unauthorized third-party music and then mutes the sound. With no warning, the "feature" went live, surprising and angering many.

Perhaps expecting the backlash, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear hosted an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit where he responded to a number of concerned fans.

First and foremost, the system is here to stay.

"As Twitch becomes more prominent, our streamers get increasing prominence as well. No one wants to be liable for using unlicensed music and we think this is the best way to solve this problem for both us and our broadcasters. Obviously there are some edge cases to fix, but in general this is an important change that we have to do." 

"We fully intend to find ways to have music be a great experience on Twitch. We know you guys love music, we love music too and want to keep it as part of Twitch."

The good news is, Shear acknowledges its a work in progress and there are changes coming. For instance, Twitch is looking into increasing the scan resolution and implementing an appeals system.

"Future plans: increase the scan resolution so that we don't have to flag 30 minute chunks at a time, identify why things have been flagged, institute an appeals system, make sure there isn't any original game music on the flagging list."

Twitch is also looking into letting people quickly allow the use of their copyrighted/claimed music, but it might take a long time to implement such a feature.

"We're working on providing the ability to 'accept the claim' and share monetization, but that might take a long time."

Of course, if you're a YouTuber who has dealt with ContentID then you are probably just as skeptical as I am about the appeal system.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Twitch has no plans to expand this software to live content, which means your livestreams are safe -- for now.

"We have no plans at all for this to expand to live content. Even if we could run this on live this second, we absolutely would not." 

I guess that's comforting. On the bright side, Shear hinted at some big plans as a result of this change.

"We did need to change things. This is laying groundwork for some work in the future you guys are REALLY going to like. We've been intending to do this for some time, but it took us a while to identify and select a content identification partner and get the system up and reliable." 

"How about [video on demand] being available on every platform, not just web? These VOD changes are explicitly to a required step to support that ability (bringing VOD to other platforms)." 

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