Twitch CEO: ‘We have absolutely no intention’ of running copyright audio scans on Twitch livestreams

Above: Broadcasting from the Xbox One on Twitch.

Image Credit: Jeff Grubb/GamesBeat

Correction: This story originally claimed Twitch will not mute audio that violates copyright during live streams. It will strike accounts that stream unauthorized content when Twitch receives a DMCA notice from the copyright holder.

Yesterday, Twitch revealed that it will start muting 30 minute chunks of archived videos that contain copyrighted music and audio. Today, its chief executive officer is promising that the company isn’t going to bring this to its live broadcasts.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear is answering community questions on the news-aggregation site Reddit right now, and one of the first things he decided to address was the possibility that the gameplay-livestreaming site will eventually start running software that automatically mutes live broadcasts that contain copyrighted music and audio (although that doesn’t include original game scores). The company partnered with a company called Audible Magic, which will scan archived videos for any violations, but Shear confirmed that this won’t cross over into the site’s livestreaming.

“We have absolutely no intention of running any audio recognition against live video,” Shear wrote. “We really don’t want to do it on live video, and I don’t see any reason why we ever would.”

This comes just weeks after we confirmed that Google’s YouTube is finalizing a deal to purchase Twitch for $1 billion. YouTube has a similar system to flag copyrighted material, which has caused a lot of problems for people who make game-related content. Shear notes that he “cannot comment on acquisition rumors” in his posts on Reddit.

Twitch has millions of monthly active viewers and more than a million people who use the site to stream live gameplay from PC, consoles, and mobile. It is slowly building an empire with highly engaged fans watching advertising and even subscribing to premium membership programs. Any changes to the way it does things is going to cause a stir with its gamers, and this policy change is an example of that.

The CEO also went into a vague explanation about why his company is starting to implement copyright protection on its archived videos, which gamers can watch on demand. He says that it was necessary as part of the groundwork for some future features that his engineering team is working on.

“We’ve been intending to do [copyright flagging] for some time, but it took us a while to identify and select a content identification partner and to get the system up and reliable,” he wrote.

Twitch is working on improving the system so that the system doesn’t have to block out half-hour chunks of audio when it finds 10 seconds of copyright material. The company will also introduce an appeals system.

Finally, Shear said that the audio system should only flag copyright songs and not a game’s original soundtrack. Twitch wants to stamp out people playing pop music, for example, during their Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft sessions, but the card-battling game’s original audio score should not flag the system.

“If the [system is flagging original game audio], and it appears that it is, it’s a problem,” wrote Shear. “And we will investigate and try to fix it.”

More information:

Twitch is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers where more than 60 million gather every month to broadcast, watch and talk about video games. Twitch’s video platform is the backbone of both live and on-demand ... read more »

Emmett Shear is founder and CEO of Twitch ( He is also co-founder of and a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator, where he advises fledgling startups on product and strategy. Mr. Shear graduate... read more »

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Glenn Gutierrez
Glenn Gutierrez

You betrayed your convictions and agreed to be bought out by Google. We all already know what's going to happen. Just waiting for the Twitch's version of MCNs to come in and turn this into another Youtube disaster where content creators get screwed.

Alex Perez
Alex Perez

my ass. they'll be applying those google/youtube rules soon. just watch.

Chris Wells
Chris Wells

assuming they have one left, yes. thing is, Twitch is just there to, quite simply, take whatever is thrown at them..but that's no reason to pity them. they, alongside Google, should be trying to find a "gentle middle ground" for all fact they may have tried..but oh well, the "wrong" people won here.

Pavlo Vovk
Pavlo Vovk

shooting themselves in a foot, eh?

Chris Wells
Chris Wells

Intents...intentions mean nothing though; if the copyright owners go after people or Twitch itself for livestreaming copyrighted content, it will go bye-bye.

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