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Twitch streamers protest audio takedowns by making their own sound, playing rhythm games with no music

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Since October, Twitch has been deleting significant quantities of videos over copyright claims, leaving the affected streamers with no way to respond or issue counter-claims. Twitch eventually explained (opens in new tab) that the number of DMCA notifications it receives from major record labels has surged, going from "fewer than 50" each year to "thousands" beginning in May. The recommendation offered to streamers was to play games with the music muted, which obviously isn't great advice when it comes to rhythm games, or games that don't have the option to mute music separately from other audio. 

Meanwhile, some streamers have had videos muted due to sound effects (opens in new tab), with claims coming via automated content recognition software Audible Magic. These claims can be contested, but it's still frustrating for those affected by content ID software that can't tell the difference between copyrighted audio and the noise of a grandfather clock chiming in a horror game.

In response, streamers have been protesting by playing games with the sound off completely to highlight the absurdity of the situation, some using the hashtag #DMCAsoundoff (opens in new tab). Watching Rocksmith players grunt or silently nod along to songs nobody can hear highlights the problem while still entertaining their viewers, as does hearing them improvise their own the sound effects for games like Resident Evil 2.

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Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.