With a supposedly imminent YouTube acquisition hanging over its head, Twitch has stepped up its legal game with a new copyright protection policy that threatens to cut large chunks of audio out of its users’ Video on Demand content.

Twitch has, starting today, begun applying audio recognition from Audible Magic to check for unauthorized music or audio. If Twitch finds any music from Audible Magic clients, it will automatically mute the video in 30-minute blocks. Note, the copyright checks don’t apply to live broadcasts. The whole system sounds a lot like YouTube’s ContentID system, which has aggravated gamers for blocking their Let’s Play videos.

However, one concern about the new policy is that it applies to in-game music as well. So much for that video of me setting a new record on DDR. Oddly enough, some of Twitch’s own videos have been flagged for copyrighted content.

Screen Shot 2014 08 06 at 4.11.21 PM 730x357 Twitch introduces unpopular copyright protections as it gets its affairs in order

Twitch advised streamers that want to include music on their broadcasts to stick to Creative Commons, Jamendo and SongFreedom.

To make matters worse, Twitch admitted that the system at times registers false positives. Broadcasters that want to contest a copyright notice will need to send a DMCA-compliant counter-notification.

The comments on Twitch’s post range from angry to really angry, though, to be fair, it’s not much different from the usual state of affairs of Twitch chat. While cleaning up copyrighted content is a natural step for most online video services as they mature, Twitch’s legalese-heavy post isn’t making any friends, well, other than the RIAA, which is kind of the point.

Today’s news corresponds with additional changes to the VOD feature. Twitch will no longer save broadcasts forever, instead requiring streamers to splice their content into highlights, which tend to generate more views. With the changes, Twitch has freed up space so it can save broadcasts for 14 days, up from three days. Turbo subscribers and Twitch partners will get to keep their videos for 60 days. VODs will also now be available on mobile devices.

Broadcasts that streamers had previously marked save forever will be deleted in three weeks, so channel owners have until then to export their highlight videos. I guess it was more of a “save for as long as we feel like it” feature.

Between yesterday’s closure of parent service Justin.tv and today’s legal smack down, the rumored Google acquisition certainly seems inevitable. But, if Twitch is planning on keeping the community around when it changes hands, this probably isn’t the best way to go about it.

Twitch has a Reddit AMA scheduled for August 7 at 10:30am PST, so you can expect a truckload of complaints will show up there tomorrow.

Thumbnail credit: camknows / Flickr