If you’ve ever waded into the endless ocean of copyright laws when attempting to upload video content to sites like Vimeo or YouTube, then you probably know how complicated it has become in recent years.
Twitch is the latest to come under fire regarding what many see as new anti-community polices, which recently led to CEO Emmett Shear attempting to address some of this outrage via reddit.
The biggest controversy results from the company’s latest policy of muting copywritten audio in not just new videos, but thousands of previously archived uploads as well. When asked to clarify the difference between fair use video vs. audio, Shear states, “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.”
While the online community is up-in-arms regarding the change, I think we should point out that Shear has a point. To be fair, other media companies have set similar standards in the past. HBO, for example, requested user generated content be summited to their site last year. They made it clear anyone’s video that featured music in that background (which required licensing fees) would be rejected.
Unfortunately, the reddit community typically reacted to his responses negatively (voting them down repeatedly). DOTA 2 players, however, did get a bit of good news. Many of the videos flagged in the past have now been identified as “false positives” and are being corrected according to Shear.