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.

  • Glad google bought it. Posted via Android Central App
  • -10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000900000000000000000000 Posted via Android Central App
  • Fuck Google. Time to leave Twitch then. They already fucked up two major video sites with these copyright restrvtkon. I HOPE they don't go for a third. Posted via Android Central App
  • And now we move to another site.
  • Why would we care what a troll thinks?
  • He has a opinion like the rest of us he shared his opinion therefore adding to the conversation where as yours added nothing Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Just fantastic. RIP Twitch, it was great while it lasted...
  • The YouTube Exporter has been around for awhile now, I used it to upload a Binding of Isaac playthrough about a year ago.
  • Never even visited that site and I now know that is better. Anecdotal seconds of googling, full transparency.
  • >"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." " Welcome to the "cloud"!
  • Well when hotbox gets big enough, they'll be pressured by the copyright "powers that be" as well. Heck, they could get pressure sooner than that. This would have happened to Twitch eventually, the pending Google buy just sped this up a bit I think. Posted via Android Central App
  • Well Twitch was pressured about 3 years ago with copyright stuff like that and they ignored it. I remember streamers for a short period were not supposed to stream copyrighted music live but every streamer ignored it so it got brushed off. Twitch did what they wanted but Google has killed it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Google's already ruining it. Damn...
  • Well the copyright stuff was bound to happen, I imagine it's easy to skirt the law for live streams but when storing video they were gonna have to face the music sooner or later... (no pun intended) The time limit is a little more puzzling tho, AFAIK your YouTube videos just stay out there forever, and you can upload fairly large clips (like 20-30GB after your enable some hidden option I think?), AND they're offering an option for direct YouTube expert to top it off... So why limit Twitch itself at all? Kind of a slap in the face of gamers, even if the statistics are true and most videos barely get any views, shoot if that's the issue why not just auto delete clips that don't get X amount of views in Y amount of days? That way popular clips hang around... I'm not sure why you'd bother with it all anyway, why not just use YouTube or some other hosting service? Back in the day when I played DAOC (MMORPG) we'd use a variety of file hosting services (rather than streaming) to post 15-30 min clips of 8v8 PvP fights, that way we could slap whatever music we wanted on them etc. Seems they're missing a mayor path to monetizing the service too... It's obvious gamers like music with their gameplay clips, why not find at least one studio willing to license music for a fee, or in return for shared ad revenue or something, uploaders pick and/or pay after the clip is up. I could see DJs and EDM really getting into the mix like that, pro gamers could tie it into their sponsorships etc, there's definitely a market for it, just have to find one label that isn't stupid.
  • This. Just all of this. Posted via Android Central App
  • "Twitch is responding to the expected criticism by offering a video exporter that will send your gameplay out in two-hour chunks to YouTube" -- Where youtube will also flag it via contend id. Time to find a new streaming and video service.
  • How does this work? I mean, if I am streaming and listening to a song that I OWN, will they mute my video?
  • If you own the RIGHTS to it, then no. This doesn't have anything to do with piracy or illegally downloading music. It has to do with Twitch making money off other people's intellectual property. You can't make a profit without explicit permission from the studio to use their music.
  • only in the VOD replay. And yes, it will probably mute the whole thing.
  • I don't believe so if you own the rights. It's only if the music or video is IP of another. I may be wrong. Just what I got from it. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's always disappointing to see a business change a product that their customers find useful (in fear of a lawsuit) into something that nobody wants. Instead of spending money to change a good product into something that nobody wants, they should have gone open source with the software, closed their doors, and kept all the revenue they put in to making junk software. At least then the software would still be available/useful and the business owners could keep their money.
  • What does listening to music outside of a game have to do with streaming your gameplay? I really fail to see the issue here. If you are recording your gameplay and discussing the game then you won't get muted. Much ado about nothing. It's game streaming, not American Idol or home DJ.
  • The music industry is a big pile of shit. So if ur singing or listening to a song that's copyrighted while you're playing then your video gets muted?? This is taking things too far. No artist, label or company is losing money over shit like that. Smh..
  • Glad the internet has something to be mad about today but the reality is this will be NO BIG DEAL. I get that people like to watch some good players stream live and that won't change no matter what music they listen to, but with all the live stuff why would you go to twitch and watch some previously recorded random person playing on the ladder or whatever?
  • I've no clue about Twitch since I don't game much online these days... But when I played DAOC (a PvP heavy MMORPG) people totally loved to watch recorded clips of good groups of players in 8v8 fights, even players that weren't heavy into the whole 8v8 group scene (there were no arenas in DAOC so if you ran with 8 others you were just as likely to run into an 8 man group as a 50 person zerg of casual players, part of the fun). Some just watched for the epic fights, some watched to glean some tactics, some just watched to mock and put down another group, etc etc. I loved recording, usually left the editing to other friends... I imagine it's the same dynamic with many other games, specially team based stuff. In fact, I can't imagine why you'd prefer a live stream unless it's a big tourney or something, there's no guarantee it'll be a good fight/game (and it'll be particularly boring if it's a bad one in a game without a team dynamic since then it's just a rout). Whereas if it's pre recorded it might be a culling of really good matches the uploader found memorable, or at least it should be. That's what we used to do anyway, record as many fights as possible against good good groups for a month and then sit down and pick the best for a highlight reel, tho by the end of a solid 8v8 you usually knew if it was video worthy or not. P.S. But yeah, music's just there for filler.