#icebucketchallenge

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Yup. This happened.

So now it’s Ken’s, Daryl’s, and Chloe’s turn to do this thing. :)

Remember, if you do this, please donate to ALS research as well. Make a goofy internet thing something that impacts real lives and goes towards research to treat a horrible, horrible thing that affects other humans. You can do that at http://alsa.org/.

Ferguson, Six Days Later

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Last Saturday, Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, shot and killed Mike Brown, a teenager. The following days were a tempest of flared emotions, militarized police action, protests, and controversy. Unbelievable images flashed across my television of riot-geared police firing crowd control measures into the streets of Ferguson, making it look and feel like a military occupation.

As I type this, the situation is still unfolding. Further statements have been made. Facts are slowly being revealed and uncovered. More are to come. The picture of what will happen is still forming, but the mood at the protest sites is calmer and the police presence more reserved and less armed.

This was (and is) happening in the metro area I call home. It happened in the suburb of Ferguson, but it could have happened in many other places in St. Louis and in many other places, many other cities. It could have happened in the suburb where I live.

This past week is now a part of the history of St. Louis, for good or ill. It is something we will—hopefully—remember and from which we will learn for the future. With that in mind, I took the opportunity to go to the site and witness it for myself, to record the scene and see the community affected by these things.

I first went to the QuikTrip where most of the protestors were gathered.

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It’s the source of most of what you associate with the event. There were loud protests most of the time I was there, led by a woman with a bullhorn. They alternated between the “hands up; don’t shoot” and refrains of “we’re not scared”.

Most people milled about, talking with each other and with various people who held recording devices as they interviewed others. There were casual conversations and serious statements about the events of the week and wondering what could be done.

There were many signs, many t-shirts with sayings and slogans, some of them written using large marker. The crowd was composed of all ages, old and young. Some of the people there brought their children along and were explaining the situation to them as best they could.

I was thanked for being there. I was asked by a school student taking notes on the situation what I would do to help prevent such things from happening in the future. People asked me if I wanted something to eat or a bottle of water. Everything felt of community. They were engaging. I felt welcome. I was at one point hugged rather forcefully. :) People were distributing and serving food and water in an organized fashion and volunteers were plentiful.

The media had arrayed their satellite vehicles on one end of the QuikTrip parking lot.

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One thing the local media provided me with was a stark contrast to one of the more disturbing images from the previous week. Instead of a sniper perched on top of an armored truck, now we have this on the scene:

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The immediate sign of expression from the people—other than the audible signs of the protesting and the cars honking in support—was the paint and chalk everywhere in the QT parking lot.

Some were signs of support.

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Some were expressions of frustration and a desire to be heard and recognized.

Some were out of loss—of the life that was taken.

There was a desire for peace.

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But there was also the undercurrent that flows under this all—the distrust of the police and anger regarding their actions.

From there, I went to the apartment complex where the shooting had taken place. There were families and volunteers there, making and serving food and offering it to everyone who came by. They’d set up grills, huge buckets of ice with water and other drinks for the children of the neighborhood, and tents. One man sat under a tent with a chess set on the table in front of him.

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If there was a feeling of community at the QuikTrip, it was even more pronounced at the apartments. This was especially marked given that the scene of the shooting was mere yards away.

And the sign that has been so prominent in news images was still there, resting against a tree across from the memorials that had been placed.

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Is Ferguson About to Get Better, Or Worse?

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Last night in Ferguson (which is around 30 miles from where I am in the St. Louis metro) was a crazy series of happenings, with the arrests of several people in the media, one elected St. Louis city official, and numerous protesters.

Some reports showed/described members in the crowd responding to the police firing control measure by throwing molotovs back in the direction of the police.

It’s been clear from the start that the County PD is largely at fault for what’s going on here. They are the ones with the heavy gear and the armored vehicles, and they have been named as being in charge of the site.

Now comes a handful of news tweets about what’s going on. First, a state representative claims that the county PD is being relieved from the scene today:

Then, the Ferguson PD chief (who is completely in over his head right now) is planning on two press conferences, one around noon and one around 6 p.m.:

And almost right after, that there will be a statement from the President just after 11 CT:

So now, we wait. Does this mean that the police presence is merely being disbanded? Or does this mean that we’ll be seeing the National Guard and a real curfew tonight?

I can tell you which will make things worse.

A Translation to Plain English of Twitch’s New Audio VOD Policy Post

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So if you didn’t catch wind of this yet, Twitch’s general counsel put up a blog post today showcasing their new partnership with Audible Magic, which is apparently a content scanning service that is designed to enrich content creators dinosaur publishers when their copyrighted content is found used in online media.

Let’s take a look:

Starting today, Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio.

You didn’t ask for anyone to help you with this, but we don’t care.

We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners.

We suddenly care about copyrighted material being used on our site, but for some reason don’t care about the DMCA—which is designed to deal with this kind of thing—so we’re doing this other thing instead. Check this out; you’re going to love it.

We’ve partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned or controlled by clients of Audible Magic. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible Magic database is detected (“Flagged Content”), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.

We’ve muted probably half of all archived videos on Twitch, because we’re scanning for music that is used in the very games we want you to stream.

No; we don’t see the irony in this. Maybe you should mute the games you are playing and just talk when you do a show; it would really help us out. Thanks.

You can even make laser gun sounds when you play. Your viewers might find that interesting.

The Audible Magic technology will scan for third party music in 30 minute blocks — if Audible Magic does not detect its clients’ music, that portion of the VOD will not be muted. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted.

Why use a scalpel when you can use a sledgehammer?

Seriously, you should be wowed by what we are doing here. We took the concepts behind YouTube’s ContentID—a system pretty much everyone hates with a passion—and found a way to make it even shittier by making sure that instead of monetizing your content for other people, we’re just making it useless instead.

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.

Yet.

Flagged Content will display an on-screen notification informing viewers that content owned or controlled by a third party has been identified. The progress bar will also be red for the duration of the muted section.

We’d like to make it painfully obvious how many videos have been affected by this change and how screwed you are at the same time. We hope you like this new feature.

Please note that Audio Recognition is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.  It may return false positives or miss content from copyright owners who do not work with Audible Magic.  If you wish to include music in your VODs, please remember that you are responsible for clearing all such rights (this includes ambient music that may be playing in the background while you are broadcasting).  If you would like to include free-to-use music in your VODs, there are a variety of resources available to you, including:

Automated content scanning and action has worked really well in the past, right? I mean, it’s surely not going to end up causing things like this, or this, or even such ridiculousness as this.

Nope; automated scanning has always been the chickenshit way out of defending users’ rights, so we’re taking it because it never goes wrong.

If you believe that your video has been flagged improperly and that you have cleared the rights to all of the sound recordings in your uploaded video, then we will consider unmuting your video if you send us a counter-notification that is compliant with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

We are going to make you file a legal statement to defend your content even though the appropriate legal statement to take down your content that would normally cause you to file a counter-notice was never filed in the first place.

We’re either so understaffed that we can’t process the barrage of DMCA notices we get in, we are (as above) refusing to defend the rights of our users (and by extension our own rights), or both.

Oh: we’re not really going to tell you what to do in these cases. Instead, we’ll pretend you know about the law that we’re not forcing copyright holders to adhere to.

Any copyright owner that believes that any of their content is used in any live broadcasts or VOD without authorization should submit a notification of claimed infringement to Twitch pursuant to our Terms of Service. If you are the legal owner of copyrighted music that you would like to protect via Audible Magic’s technology, visit AudibleMagic.com.

If you own the music that is used in a game and have problems with it being showcased on a streaming service that is supposed to be for games, and would like us to mute that content so that people can’t hear the game others are saying is pretty awesome and which might cause other people to buy the game in question and thus earn you more money, please, by all means, let us or our new partner know.

Twitch has partnered with Audible Magic without waiving any rights or defenses available to it under law. Twitch is not obligated to filter content stored on  the Twitch platform by its users and assumes no liability for the actions of its users notwithstanding the implementation of the Audible Magic technology. Twitch reserves the right to stop filtering audio content in VODs in its sole discretion at any time and without liability to any third party, subject only to any contractual obligations.

Legally, we didn’t actually have to do this, but we’re doing it anyway.

No; we aren’t going to tell you why.

We want to hear your feedback and questions. Tune in to the following events to ask us (almost!) anything:

  • Reddit AMA on /r/Twitch: Thursday, August 7, 10:30am PST

  • Twitch Weekly: Friday, August 8 at 2pm PST

We really hate the person who signed us up for an AMA the day after we made this change. And we’ll probably ignore anything that isn’t “how awesome is this new feature?”

And, as always, please feel free to leave your comments below. We will answer as best we can.

We are high as a kite.