As Twitch’s userbase scrambles to sanitize their past archives and current streams of licensed music, a new wave of notices are hitting from a second front: sound effects.
As reported by Gamesindustry.biz, a number of streamers have taken to Twitter indicating they’ve received notices through Twitch relating to various sound effects such as clock chimes, bird and insect noises, police sirens, and even the sound of wind blowing. The notices indicate that the audio in certain VOD streams is being muted, with specific time chops given and what the source of the audio in question may have been from. As some are pointing out, these are not precisely the same as a DMCA takedown notice from a legal perspective, whatever the practical impediments for streamers may be.
Twitch has already been catching flak from its userbase over its mass deletion and its subsequent insufficiently contrite apology for its handling of the situation. The advice in their apology blog post to avoid playing recorded music while streaming seems to have overlooked sound effects as a possible source of conflict, or at the very least failed to properly mention it was a consideration streamers need to be aware of. Twitch does have an appeals process for muted audio notices, which offers at least some potential opportunity for relief. There has not been any official word from Twitch over the uptick in muted audio notifications.
Food For Thought
It would seem that the rule of thumb going forward on Twitch will be, “No audio other than your own voice when streaming.” The scenario of companies who specialize in sound effects suddenly starting to issue DMCA notices is no longer a purely academic possibility, given the blitz that the RIAA and record labels launched. How it will all be sorted out is anybody’s guess, but Twitch’s unwillingness to take a coherent stand before does not inspire a great deal of confidence.