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Twitch changes the rules twice in one day
Twitch changes the rules twice in one day
August 6, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

August 6, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

Today, Twitch announced two changes to the functionality of its site.

For one, it will no longer automatically store streamers' entire video backlogs. High demand from users soon forced the site to disable its tool which allows them to export their vids to YouTube.

The company also announced that it has begun to scan videos against a content ID matching service to detect copyrighted music in all Twitch videos -- including previously recorded, archived ones. It will automatically mute them (in 30-minute chunks) if any infringing audio is found.

These changes to the rules come alongside yesterday's shutdown of its general-purpose streaming site (of which Twitch was originally the games channel).

Ironically, the company's own internally produced videos have already run afoul of its own audio-matching technologies, as shown in this tweet, and verified by Gamasutra:

It's natural to conjecture that these changes are designed to pave the way for Twitch's acquisition by Google. Rumors that YouTube plans to buy Twitch keep coming.

Late last year, YouTube cracked down on player-created game videos that contained copyrighted audio and footage. In response, attorney Stephen McArthur contributed a guide to Gamasutra about beating the site's ContentID claims.

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Chris Book
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This has to be a record for the time it's taken Google to ruin yet another one of its acquisitions.

Rodrigo Wilhelmy
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It's a messy implementation. Speed runners are going to get hit the hardest. Now you cannot even archive a 2+ hour speedrun in the same VOD. Here's a few examples of hard-hitted VODs:

Dota 2 Stream:

NES speedrun:

Fallout 3 speedrun:

Dota 2 Talkshow:

Christian Nutt
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Yeah, it's a weird and unpleasant arbitrary limitation, and I think it would have made sense to think of a way to do it that's better suited to preserving how people actually use Twitch. Either disk space or total hours per some arbitrary period, or something?

Alan Barton
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I'm wondering if they are adding these restrictions now, to keep server storage requirements artificially lower than is required, to avoid costly server expansion costs, at a time when they are hoping to be bought. It makes them look to a buyer to be a better, cheaper & more profitable buy. (If they spend their profits on more server hardware buying, it shows up as less profitable to a potential buyer).

Not good for users, but it really sounds like they want to be bought out.

Marvin Papin
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Relied by, it seems that there is an option to store video as "strong moments" and keep them. But how about those limitations ?

Alex Covic
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There are plenty of articles (incl. here, on Gamasutra) explaining the pickle Twitch and Google/YouTube are in. So rising fingers and blaming is meaningless, unless YOU can come up with better algorithms to match content better.

Everyone knows Google has money, so everyone will sue Google. Nobody cared about Twitch, before.

My fear is, if this kind of law sticks around, what keeps people and companies asking for takedowns for their sound-effects... or - unimaginable - animations/art-assets/models. We talked about this before.

You can buy 3rd party assets to use in your game, but when your game turns into a popular movie - making income - what keeps people (and lawyers) from asking for 'their cut'? Some of these 3rd party asset makers, will soon have to either waiver their right or include a clause about 'streaming video games'?

Ryan Madsen
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I can understood why companies might not like Youtube videos with their music, because you can just listen to music on there and not buy songs, but people go to Twitch to watch gameplay, commentary and interact with the streamers and other audience members not to listen to music.

If anything having music playing in the background that people enjoy while playing games, will probably inspire more revenue for the musicians. It's free advertisement. They should support it not try to prevent it.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see the reason this was implemented, especially this much time later after Twitch started out.

Michael Joseph
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excellent point. And if we're not being hypocrites we have to respect their IP rights.

Colin Sullivan
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Content ID is no longer a legal strategy, it is a business strategy. They want to keep as much content up as possible, and DMCA takedowns don't allow that, so they have made a parallel system to divert people away from using the DMCA.

I'm guessing the muting will eventually be replaced by diverting the monetization for the video to the "rights" holder, as muting the video is almost as bad as removing it.

Matt Ponton
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I've been hearing of twitch streamers moving over to Hitbox. Though I don't find it likely, it would be funny to see all the streamers move over to Hitbox or some other streaming site and grow that up. Would turn Google's purchase into a wasted one.

Christian Nutt
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Only if you assume Google wanted the users, and not the tech or something.

Yama Habib
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The primary gain in any acquisition is the loss of a competitor.

It's no coincidence that rumors of this acquisition follow YouTube's own implementation of a live streaming service so closely.

And to be frank, YouTube's livestreaming implementation is far superior to twitch's in that it enables users to actually seek and rewind through live broadcasts.