The most dangerous thing you’ll likely first encounter when Back 4 Blood launches next week is the game’s music. If you’re planning on streaming the co-op zombie slaughterfest after it officially launches, you’ll have to contend with the game’s interactive jukebox. It’s filled with licensed tracks that could earn you a copyright strike.
Alissa Barry, influencer and communications manager at developer Turtle Rock Studios, issued a PSA warning via Twitter. “If you’re streaming or planning #Back4Blood VOD content, this is important,” she tweeted. “The jukebox has licensed music that will play when used. We do not own the streaming rights for the songs that play so be sure to turn your music off when interacting with the jukebox.”
The streaming community has long wrestled with issues relating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, with the worst incident of recent note being when Twitch was hit with a wave of copyright claims over old clips. Many streamers were at risk of receiving permanent bans while most ended up being part of a mass deletion of videos.
While Twitch apologized for not doing its best to avoid this situation, it was effectively a consequence of lax enforcement of copyright policies over several years. Recently, Twitch struck a deal with the National Music Publishers’ Associations that would let them go a little easier on unintentional copyright violations in VODs and streams, but rules and restrictions remain unchanged.
The rules and restrictions for copyright and streaming on Twitch are so draconian that earlier this year at BlizzCon, a live performance from Metallica was swapped with generic library music midway through its broadcast on the platform.
In a reply tweet, Barry clarified that Turtle Rock does have the rights to use the music in the game, but not the streaming rights. Right now having to disable all the in-game music to avoid any copyright liabilities feels like an inconvenience, but Barry assures that the Back 4 Blood team is working on a streaming mode toggle.