Twitch has been making lots of controversial changes lately, and this has not gone unnoticed by the gaming community. The addition of a new Audio Recognition System has been problematic. The system has been improperly flagging some audio that was cleared through creative commons (and therefore, should not have been flagged at all). After much outcry, Twitch has stated that it will deploy an “Appeal” button.
In short, the purpose of the Audio Recognition system was to identify music that has a copyright and that was used in videos on Twitch that are available on demand. (They call those “Video on Demand” or VOD). Twitch partnered with Audible Magic.
When the Audio Recognition system identifies music that is in the Audible Magic database, it automatically mutes the portion of the video on demand in which that music appears. (The Audio Recognition system is not being used on videos that are streamed live on Twitch.) It can scan 30 minute blocks of a video. If third party audio is detected anywhere in the 30-minute scanned block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted.
Twitch explains it this way on their blog:
“We’ve partnered with Audible Magic, which works closely with the recorded music industry, to scan past and future VODs for music owned and controlled by clients of Audible Music. This includes in-game and ambient music. When music in the Audible database is detected (“Flagged Content”), the affected portion of the VOD will be muted and the volume controls for that VOD will be turned off. Additionally, past broadcasts and highlights with Flagged Content are exportable but will remain muted.”
This new addition to Twitch is very similar to what YouTube is using to identify audio that has a copyright and that has been used in videos that appear on YouTube. Both systems have returned “false positives” and flagged things that should not have been flagged. As such, Twitch is deploying an “appeal” button for the VODs that have been incorrectly flagged for copyrighted music.
I suspect this is not going to be enough to appease gamers who have had their audio muted without warning when all they were doing was streaming the ambient music that is in a video game. It’s not going to go over well with gamers who have had 30 minutes of their audio muted because they played one 2 or 3 minute song that had a copyright on it, either.