Major changes to Twitch policy are coming, and you probably won’t like them

Callum Tennent
August 7, 2014

If ever there was a sign that YouTube is in the process of acquiring Twitch, this is it. The streaming service has announced that recorded videos and highlights will be muted if they are found to contain music which the streamer does not hold the rights to. Sound familiar?

YouTube has received a  huge amount of criticism over the past nine months as its draconian copyright laws have swelled to ludicrous levels. Automated scripts scan every video uploaded for traces of unlicensed music usage. These videos are then automatically flagged and taken down from public consumption. The poster of the video containing the audio must then file an objection and wait for YouTube to address their complaint – a timely process which can come at great expense to users who rely on their channel for income.

Another major change is regarding the storage of clips. Whilst Twitch is first and foremost a streaming/broadcasting service, users can also ‘highlight’ certain clips from their streams and post them as on-demand videos on their channels. From now on, though, those highlights must be no more than two hours in length. Hosted a particularly epic 12 round game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive on your channel? Sorry. A day-long League of Legends tourney? No can do.

Any highlights longer than two hours will be saved to your channel, but then automatically deleted after a short amount of time: 30 days if you’re a free user, or 60 days if you’re a Turbo member/Twitch partner. It seems like simply breaking your full stream down into multiple two-hour segments would be a decent workaround for this issue, but we’ve got no idea whether or not that’s doable yet.

This change isn’t without reason though. Twitch says that it’s current VoD system is rather limited (and if you’ve ever tried to use it you’d probably agree), so cutting down on length and number of videos stored is a sensible way of providing greater levels of backup security and simpler video exportation.

Twitch also claims that 84% of VoD views occur within the first fortnight of them being posted, so it shouldn’t be much of a loss. The majority of the site’s major streamers also tend to have their own YouTube pages, and there’s nothing stopping them from continuing to post them in their full form there.

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About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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