The battle between video game streaming and copyright law is a nightmare, starring heartless YouTube robots, takedown notices and threatened livelihoods. If only there was a quick and easy way around this. Oh wait. There might be.
One of the biggest — and most incidental — problems facing streamers is the use of game music in their clips. If someone is playing a game live on the internet, and that game features music, then that music is also going to turn up in their video. Thing is, that's where copyright robots can detect it and — even if the relevant publisher or composer fails to care — flag a video.
I wrote (and spoke) about Concrete Jungle a bit a few weeks ago, but feel like pointing this out again: for all the game's good points, one of its best inclusions is a seemingly harmless little checkbox at the bottom of the game's settings menu.
There it is. "Stream-Safe Music". For starters, it's a helpful little explainer as to why so many videos get taken down! Some people may not realise that, when licensing music, sometimes different rights apply to YouTube as do the game itself. So while it's cool for a game to include music, it might not be cool for a video of the game to be on YouTube.
More importantly, though, it's a one-click workaround to the problem. Tick that box and only the music that's 100% cool to be played on YouTube will be played while you record/stream.
I understand that for some games this could be more of a problem than others. Concrete Jungle, for example, only plays chill music in the background of a strategy game; a title that relies on dynamic licensed music might have a harder time programming something like this.
It's also something that's easier for a smaller, indie project to do than a AAA game, where it might be harder to know what's being played at all ahead of time, let alone where it's going.
But hey, whatever the limitations, it's a start in building a bridge over what's becoming increasingly dangerous waters for streamers. Hopefully more games can implement something similar in the future!
(If you know of any other games that do this let me know below!)