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How Cyberpunk 2077 will help streamers avoid DMCA takedowns

Streamers have been dealing with a lot of DMCA takedown warnings lately, and CD Projekt Red wants to make life a little easier for them. To help anyone streaming the game avoid these unfortunate encounters with the music industry enforcers, Cyberpunk 2077 will ship with a special "streamer mode" which will disable copyrighted in-game music while live streaming.

CD Projekt Red revealed this special streamer mode during its most recent Night City Wire developer presentation. Towards the end of a segment discussing the game's score and soundtrack, UK head of communications Hollie Bennett introduced Cyberpunk 2077's innovative solution to help streamers avoid DMCA infractions.

Bennett explained, "We know that for content creators, licensed music can sometimes be problematic. So with this new mode, you will be able to disable a small number of selected tracks which could cause some issues, replacing them with a different song, helping to avoid any problems." She also noted that streamer mode will automatically engage on consoles whenever the game is streaming, while gamers playing on PC will have the option to turn it on and off under the game options.

Although Bennett didn't go into much detail, there has been a long-running conflict between streamers, Twitch, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. The music industry uses the DMCA as a tool to take down content all over the internet that uses unlicensed music and periodically sends mass notifications to Twitch listing hundreds or even thousands of incidents of streamers playing copyrighted songs on their channels. Twitch has responded by either forwarding violation notifications, requesting voluntary content deletion, and sometimes temporarily banning repeat offenders.

The results rarely look good for anyone. Streamers lose content they worked on for years. The music industry is made out to be heavy-handed bullies. Twitch comes across as either unprepared or overreactive. The last time a significant DMCA notification was served in October 2020, Twitch ended up admitting it botched the situation after it sent out takedown notifications with no guidelines as to what the offending clips were. One streamer, Lirik, even considered deleting almost a decade of saved streams.

While Cyberpunk 2077's solution won't end the ongoing battle between streamers and the DMCA, it will help streamers exert more control over their content. Often, streamers have little say over in-game licensed music putting their streams at risk, and CD Projekt Red's approach to this particular issue should make life a little easier for everyone involved.