Twitch CEO responds to audio copyright criticism: ‘We screwed up’

The CEO of Twitch has given more details on the site’s recent overhaul of its audio copyright laws.

Answering questions in a Reddit AmA, Emmett Shear responded to queries surrounding the introduction of technology that will scan streamed videos for copyrighted audio and mute flagged videos for half an hour.

Asked whether the addition of the service meant that Twitch believes streaming audio to be exempt from fair use legislation, Shear said: Game companies have the public stance (and private stance directly with Twitch) that they allow anyone to stream their games. This isn’t a fair use argument, it’s a generally available license that you’re taking advantage of.

Broadcasting unlicensed music in the background is not fair use either, and there is no generally available license. Therefore this is not something that we want our broadcasters to accept liability for (nor do we want to accept liability for it either). They’re completely different cases, and the logic is different in each.”

One user questioned why the technology needed to be introduced at all, to which Shear said: We did need to change things. This is laying groundwork for some work in the future you guys are REALLY going to like. We’ve been intending to do this for some time, but it took us a while to identify and select a content identification partner and get the system up and reliable.”

Shear also admitted that the rapid implementation of the service was a mistake.

No v1 [sic] is perfect,” he commented to criticism about the lack of an appeal process, before adding on the lack of advanced notice preceding the implementation: Simply put: we screwed up and should have announced it ahead of time. Sorry.”

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