Twitch to monitor and mute VOD content guilty of using 'unauthorized third party material'

Shaun Prescott at

Following the announcement of sweeping changes to Twitch's video on demand service, comes another  more divisive update: Twitch will implement Audio Recognition technology on all VODs in an effort to combat the use of "unauthorized third party material". The scans will apply to VODs only: live streams will remain unaffected.

Twitch has partnered with Audible Magic to remove all unauthorized material from stored content it hosts, and the approach they're taking is ruthless to say the least. Audible Magic scans videos in 30 minute blocks, and if a fraction of that block is found to contain third party material, the whole 30 minute block will be muted. This can include ambient background music as well as in-game music, depending whether those tracks are stored in the Audible Magic database.

This technology is prone to inaccuracies, and Twitch General Counsel Elizabeth Baker admits as much. "Please note that Audio Recognition is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.  It may return false positives or miss content from copyright owners who do not work with Audible Magic," she wrote. If users want to use third party music, they'll need to seek clearances themselves.

The news has naturally angered Twitch users, especially in light of rumours that YouTube is poised to acquire Twitch. YouTube implemented similar technology in late 2013, resulting in widespread take down notices among gaming channels and even the redirection of profits to copyright holders. The outcry prompted many major game publishers to come out in support of YouTube broadcasters, but the detection technology remains unwieldy at best.