What the hell is going on at Twitch?
Been paying attention to Twitch news the last few days?
Yesterday, Justin.tv, (http://www.justin.tv/
) the parent company of Twitch and general-purpose streaming site, was shut down. Everyone's accounts are being deleted, all the saved videos are being erased.
Today, Twitch announces past broadcasts can no longer be saved forever. They will now be deleted after 14 days for normal accounts and 60 days for subscribers. In three weeks all past broadcasts older than 60 days will be erased. http://blog.twitch.tv/2014/08/update-changes-to-vods-on-twitch/
Highlights can be saved indefinitely, but they are now limited to 2 hours in length. (Many existing highlights on Twitch are way longer than 2 hours.).
What is up with this mass deletion of content and all these sudden limitations? I don't see how this would be a result of a Google acquisition. All three of these moves seem designed to cut costs and save on storage space, two ideas that are completely foreign to Google. Why would a company that was about to get a billion dollar cash injection and unlimited resources start wiping all this data and limiting archiving? Google loves data and wants to keep everything around forever. Just look at things like G+ Auto Upload and Gmail.
It's not copyright-related because deleting content older than a certain arbitrary date doesn't do anything to fix copyright violations. Twitch still has live video and 60-day old video, and if you're going to call streaming a video game copyright infringement, all of that is still infringing. There's nothing about a video being old that makes copyright infringement more or less bad.
There is also no need to "clean up" Twitch before an acquisition. If Google bought a site that was full of infringing content it would just have a bunch of DMCA takedown notices to process (on top of the million it normally processes a day, that's no big deal). The DMCA protects
sites that make an effort to remove content. That's why YouTube exists today.
Also today, Twitch announced it would automatically scan videos for copyrighted music and mute them. This includes game music. They've already muted videos of Pokemon for containing Pokemon music and Punch Out for the NES because it contained music from Punch Out. Yes, a video game site banned video game music. Keep in mind these videos still
infringe copyright. There is nothing magical about audio; images from a game are also copyrighted and Twitch has left the video up, which means they are still violating copyright. That Mario sprite is ©Nintendo and if the audio isn't covered under fair use, the video isn't either.
I don't see a company prepping for a Google takeover, I see panic. Panic and a lack of understanding of what it should be doing. I think Google would want to keep all the old data instead of deleting it and enforce the DMCA on existing videos by processing takedown requests as they come in, which is all the law requires.
Why is Twitch doing this? Who the hell thinks any of this is a good idea? I think if Google was behind these changes you would see a much more organised and experienced transition. Part of me thinks the Google deal fell through or something and this is Twitch's attempt to tighten down costs and try to stand on its own.
It's just weird that all of a sudden there are all these changes over at Twitch and all of them seem to be misguided, harmful to the service, and don't really solve any of Twitch's problems.
I see three instances of cutting storage costs and one ham-fisted misapplication of copyright enforcement, none of which smell like Google to me. Thoughts?