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

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.


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.