How Twitch Is Becoming More Like YouTube

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Though technically still a rumor, YouTube’s acquisition of game-streaming partner Twitch appears to be well underway. After shutting down its less profitable “lifestreaming” service “Justin.TV” earlier this week Twitch has started bringing its existing video content in line with YouTube’s standards. That means cracking down on copyrighted music.

According to a post on the Twitch blog, the company has implanted audio scanning of its VOD library in an effort to ferret out any copyrighted music used in archived Twitch recordings. If users were playing copyrighted music during their stream and then archived the footage, the new software will scan all archived footage in 30-minute blocks. When copyrighted audio is detected within a block, the entire 30 minutes will be muted, meaning that many users will see significant chunks of their content muted.

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The process will only affect archived footage for the time being. Live streams will not be subjected to the same scrutiny. However, the audio detection does include background music, so if users were listening to the radio or playing music during their recording that content is subject to censoring. Even some of Twitch’s own archival footage has been muted.

The whole affair is likely to bring back memories of YouTube’s Content ID-gate when the video giant similarly cracked down on copyrighted material, disabling a number of videos in the process. Though both companies have refused to confirm the much-rumored buyout of Twitch, it is apparent that the company is gearing up to join the Google collective. Copyright enforcement was among the first concerns voiced by the Twitch broadcaster community when rumors of the acquisition first surfaced back in May, and it was noted as one of the major outcomes of the merger by our own analysis in July. The two companies have been shy about confirming the merger, but perhaps once Twitch is done cleaning up its act they’ll be ready to fess up.

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