Twitch changes VOD policies to mute copyrighted audio, wipe saved videos after 14 days

Twitch website hero
Twitch website hero (Image credit: Android Central)

Amidst of rampant speculation that it has been acquired by Google, Twitch has implemented two big changes to the way it handles on-demand video (VOD) playback on its service. The changes, announced today in a pair of blog posts, inform Twitch users that the service will start muting sounds for VODs that it deems have unlicensed audio tracks, and that VODs will no longer be saved "forever."

Using a technology from Audible Magic, all replays of videos on Twitch will now be scanned to see if they contain music that isn't licensed by the video creator — and if a match is found, that portion of the video will be muted. As is usually the case with these sorts of automated systems, users around the internet report that they hilariously block Twitch's own videos, videos containing people singing songs as they play and improperly recognizing songs. Twitch is implementing an appeal process for incorrect audio muting, indicating that it "... will consider unmuting your video" if you send in a counter-notification that you have the copyright.

That appeals process is likely to last longer than the video will actually be available on the service, though, as the second announcement out of Twitch today is that the service will no longer indefinitely archive your VODs. Previously, Twitch users would have their gameplay saved for three days, with the option to then save it forever. Now, videos will be auto-saved for 14 days, then deleted, unless you're a Turbo user or Twitch Partner. Videos currently saved will be deleted at the end of August.

The explanation behind the video storage change is purely based on numbers, it says. Twitch claims that 84 percent of a saved video's views come in the first 14 days after its creation, and 80 percent of the videos on its servers are never watched. Twitch also says that this shift won't actually limit its costs overall, as providing redundancy for all of those 14-day saved videos will fill plenty of servers.

Twitch is responding to the expected criticism by offering a video exporter that will send your gameplay out in two-hour chunks to YouTube, but under the crush of users trying to export it's currently down:

"We need to temporarily disable the YouTube Exporter so that we can resolve increased capacity issues. The fix will take a day and should be ready for use again tomorrow."

Source: Twitch (1); (2)

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.