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Twitch implements YouTube-like system for blocking copyrighted audio

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Twitch users now need to be more vigilant about the music they play while making gameplay videos. Starting today, Twitch is now scanning videos for unauthorized third-party audio — in-game and ambient music — and automatically muting that content.

In an announcement, Twitch says it has partnered with software company Audible Magic, which works with the music industry, "to scan past and future [videos-on-demand] for music owned or controlled by" its clients. If that scan identifies a recorded video that infringes upon a copyright claim, the video's audio will be muted for a 30-minute block in which that song appears.

Here's an example of what that looks like.

Twitch muting

The practice only applies to pre-recorded video on demand, Twitch says. The company won't be scanning live broadcasts, nor will it automatically take content down.

Those new rules are already affecting a wide number of videos saved on Twitch, including Valve's Dota 2 - The International channel and even Twitch's own official channel.

Twitch says it's "voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners."

In a blog post, Twitch offers a handful of free-to-use music alternatives, and offers the following solution to those who have already been hit with a content ID flag.

"If you believe that your video has been flagged improperly and that you have cleared the rights to all of the sound recordings in your uploaded video, then we will consider unmuting your video if you send us a counter-notification that is compliant with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ('DMCA')."

Earlier today, Twitch announced it was dropping the option to save past broadcasts forever. Under the new system, Twitch will save past broadcasts for a longer time — up to 60 days for Twitch Turbo subscribers or members of its partner system — but there will no longer be a "save forever" option. Users can, however, save 2 hour-long "highlights" indefinitely.