Back 4 Blood streamers will have to turn off licensed music to avoid copyright strikes

Back 4 Blood
(Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios)

Heads up, Back 4 Blood players: in a game filled with monsters, the deadliest of all of them might be the game's jukebox filled with licensed music.

If you're planning on streaming the game after it goes fully live on October 12 (it's available now to anyone who preordered), you'll want to steer clear of the interactive jukebox, or turn your music off when you play with it. Otherwise, you could end up eating an unexpected copyright strike.

The warning came from Alissa Barry, influencer and communications manager at Turtle Rock Studios. "If you’re streaming or planning #Back4Blood VOD content, this is important," she tweeted. "The jukebox has licensed music that will play when used. We do not own the streaming rights for the songs that play so be sure to turn your music off when interacting with the jukebox."

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Twitch and its many streamers have struggled with Digital Millennium Copyright Act issues for years, but the situation really seemed to go south in 2020 when the platform was hit with a wave of copyright claims over old clips. Twitch's lax enforcement of policies over the preceding years left numerous streamers in danger of permanent bans, and led to a mass deletion of videos in October, for which Twitch later apologized. More recently, it struck a deal with the National Music Publishers' Association that softened consequences for the unintentional use of copyright music in streams and VODs. The rules and restrictions governing its use remain unchanged, however.

Maybe the most embarrassing example of this issue came earlier this year at BlizzCon, where Metallica's performance at the event was swapped with generic background music partway through its broadcast on Twitch.

Barry clarified in a reply tweet that Turtle Rock has the rights to use the music in the game, but not the streaming rights, which are separate, and how ridiculous situations like this come about. She also clarified that the Back 4 Blood original soundtrack music is fine to stream, and said that Turtle Rock is working on a toggle to disable licensed music, but couldn't have it ready in time for launch.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.