Twitch to mute copyrighted music in video-on-demand

Video-game streaming service says it will cut the volume on 30-minute blocks of video when unauthorized audio content is detected.

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Video-game-streaming service Twitch, which is the subject of rumors about a Google takeover, announced a new copyright protection policy that threatens to muffle audio on much of its users' Video on Demand content.

Twitch said Wednesday it would begin using Audible Magic's audio recognition technology to scan VODs for unauthorized use of in-game and ambient music. Beginning Wednesday, whenever unauthorized music belonging to Audible Magic clients is detected in a 30-minute block scanned, the entire section will be muted.

"We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners," Elizabeth "Boo" Baker, Twitch's general counsel, wrote in a company blog post. "Audio Recognition will only be run against audio in VODs. We are not scanning live broadcasts and there is no automated takedown of live content."

The program performs essentially the same task as Content ID, the digital toolset for copyright policies and content management on YouTube, the company that is reportedly jockeying to purchase Twitch for $1 billion. If completed, the acquisition would be video-sharing site YouTube's largest deal since it was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006.

However, Twitch conceded that its approach was not guaranteed to be accurate all of the time.

"It may return false positives or miss content from copyright owners who do not work with Audible Magic," Baker wrote, offering several suggestions for users who want to include free-to-use music in their VODs.

Twitch also announced Wednesday it had dropped the option of saving past broadcasts forever. To accommodate a longer default for rolling storage of videos, Twitch said it would remove the "save forever" option from past broadcasts.

The moves come just a day after Twitch announced the immediate closure of Justin.tv, a live video blogging site that combined live video feeds and public chat rooms. The site was launched in 2007 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the pair who later launched Twitch in 2011.

Taken as a whole, the moves suggest that Twitch is getting its house in order to please a possible suitor.

 

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