Cyberpunk 2077's Stream-Safe Setting Option For Its Music Failed To Keep Streamers Safe

from the whoops dept

In November, as we were finally coming to the day when CD Projekt Red's newest opus, Cyberpunk 2077, was going to be released to the world, we wrote about how the developer had included a setting for the game specifically to keep streamers safe from copyright strikes. Essentially, the setting was meant to strip out all licensed music from the game and replace it with music that wouldn't land streamers in copyright jail while doing let's-plays. On the one hand, it was nice to see a developer so in favor of having its games streamed do this sort of thing. On the other hand, the fact that CD Projekt Red had to do so showed both what a failure Amazon/Twitch and the like have been at supporting their streamers through music licensing deals and, more importantly, what a hellscape copyright enforcement has become that all of this was even necessary.

Well, as it turns out, that hellscape is so complete that even the game's stream-safe setting failed to keep streamers safe.

The developer first warned potential streamers on Wednesday, before Cyberpunk 2077 officially launched in all regions, that a certain song (CDPR didn’t say which one) during the game’s “Braindance” sequences might trigger a Digital Millennium Copyright Act strike. That’s even if you’re using the specific in-game setting designed to toggle off copyrighted music for this exact reason.

But now CDPR says that the issue may be larger than it first realized, and it’s now advising streamers turn off in-game music entirely due to “additional instances in the game which might put a DMCA strike on your channel.” CDPR says a fix is on the way, but it’s not an ideal situation to have to disable all music (both copyrighted and original tracks) when streaming the game just to avoid tripping the automated detection systems that protect copyrighted works.

This is all immensely stupid. I'm sure some out there will want to blame the developer for this, with suggestions that it didn't roll out its stream-safe music setting well enough. But that's dumb. CD Projekt Red is trying to navigate this idiotic minefield, but because of the failings of streaming platforms combined with the absurdly strict culture of the music industry, it's very, very difficult to pull off.

Wouldn't it be easier if we all just admitted that hearing music, licensed or otherwise, playing in the soundtrack of a game being streamed isn't a damned threat or replacement for the actual original music? Nobody was going to out to buy "Track X" from iTunes only to hear it on a let's-play and decide instead not to. That isn't a thing.

Instead, we have this absurd reality to deal with.

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Filed Under: copyright, cyberpunk 2077, dmca, stream safe
Companies: cd projekt red


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2020 @ 7:43pm

    This is a big reason why bill like the CASE Act or the Felony Streaming Bill should not be passed right now let alone within two weeks.

    They should be trying to fix this not make it worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2020 @ 7:57pm

    It was theoretically patched today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2020 @ 8:18pm

    Nobody was going to out to buy "Track X" from iTunes only to hear it on a let's-play and decide instead not to. That isn't a thing.

    Correct, I'd say it is more likely to go the other way. I.E. you hear a song or artist you weren't aware of but like and go look for more of it. I've discovered a number of artists, including some of current favorites, from background music in streams. It was really convenient when the streamer had the title and song listed but when they didn't I ended up doing a reverse lyrics search and hope I didn't mishear it. I guess the music labels really hate free advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 4:00am

      Re:

      I guess the music labels really hate free advertising.

      More that they, like the rest of the legacy content industry, hate any form of competition for peoples attention and money. They know that people have limited time and budget for entertainment, and when they spend it elsewhere it hurts their bottom line.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2020 @ 9:23pm

    But that's dumb. CD Projekt Red is trying to navigate this idiotic minefield, but because of the failings of streaming platforms combined with the absurdly strict culture of the music industry, it's very, very difficult to pull off.

    Unfortunately that's a game with no wining moves. While I am not going to discourage them from attempting to find sanity, I will suggest that maybe they are looking in the wrong place. I mean we have seen DMCA strikes against white noise. There's zero evidence to suggest that humans are able to make content, that includes sounds, that won't eventually have a DMCA strike.

    I propose that the only direction sanity might lie in, is towards making the copyright situation less... insane.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2020 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      Someone did got a copyright claim a video of a heartbeat, I think it was a video of sonogram. Yea, DMCA need to be fixed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TFG, 11 Dec 2020 @ 11:08pm

    How long before people start DMCA'ing the RIAA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 5:19am

    Maybe devs should start sourcing music from indie artists and insert a clause this music is cleared for anyone to stream on any service it might cost abit more but it would be worth it for aaa games, there's plenty óg artists that actually like video games not under the control of the riaa

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 6:58am

    That’s not what the music industry wants. They want money. It doesn’t matter that the developer paid a hefty license fee to put the music in the game. They see this as an opportunity to extract more money so they’ll make streaming as big of a pain in the ass to force streamers to pay to remove the strikes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 7:09am

    I would expect a complaint/claim just for streaming the sounds of mother nature because that is owned like everything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      You wouldn't be far off the mark, considering that birdsong and white noise have received copyright takedown demands before.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 7:12am

    The game has music? Can hardly notice. Music is volume is tuned up to 100 and SFX are down to 50 and still the only things I can hear are my foot steps and car engine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      Just because you can't hear the music doesn't mean the copyright police can't follow the imperceptible-to-human-ears beat. Unfortunately, while you can also insert " f*** off, RIAA" in a similarly imperceptible fashion, it doesn't rile them any.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 10:48am

    When

    They supply a list and samples of the Music they ARE SUPPOSED TO OWN.
    Then we might be able to run around that list.
    Think of Classical music, all the way back to the First written down songs.
    Even if played today, there is a CR on them, because of the Band/group and even locations.
    How can you prove the music is original and NOT protected. And how long is LONG ENOUGH.
    How long to get Woody Guthrie out?
    Songs from the 40's and he died in 67', about 2037?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 11:01am

    This isn't progress, it's barbaric

    Just another example of us being sold out to huge corporations that already have so much money that they can bribe a government into turning on its own people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 13 Dec 2020 @ 11:24am

      Re: This isn't progress, it's barbaric

      And the logic they suggest is that they represent those under them.
      But Kmart, Burger king, and all the rest represent NO ONE.
      For every dollar spent, its a dollar out of Citizens pockets. NOT THEIRS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 1:52pm

    The developer can be blamed for falsely implying that there is such a thing as "stream-safe, " which is obviously not true given that videos have been DMCAed even for white noise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 11:35pm

      Re:

      The only 'stream-safe' video is one that hasn't been posted online at all, anything else and it doesn't really matter what is or is not in it you can still get a claim against it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2020 @ 3:11am

        Re: Re:

        Didn't someone get a claim against their silent recording?

        Then there was the copyright claim upon a recording of white noise. How can two recordings of white noise be the same, it is supposed to be random noise.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2020 @ 11:43pm

    Nobody was going to out to buy "Track X" from iTunes only to hear it on a let's-play and decide instead not to.

    Obviously that's not the problem. Artists creating music and getting subverted is the problem. Youtube/Twitch/etc. are still getting advert. dollars and not having to pay the artists who created the music. This only seems hard to understand for people who don't create music.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2020 @ 4:55am

      Re:

      You sound like someone who thinks that music, a video, or a book are all that are valuable, and any use of any of the content means that all the money earned should go to the artists. That is the destructive position of the legacy industry, the idea that a creative work is should generate income for many generation, while everybody else has to work for their next dollar.

      Meanwhile the very common position of those making a living on YouTube is here is what I have created, and if you like it and would like more support me in creating more content. They do not rest on their laurels expecting a lifetimes incomes from what they have already produced.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2020 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      Umm no. That doesn't make any sense at all. It's basically arguing that since the music was in some way loosely related to events that may have resulted in money changing hands, the copyright owner desires money. That's so insanely brain dead. So by that same logic: if I were to play a friends CD while engaging in a financial transaction suddenly the music's copyright owners deserve money?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 14 Dec 2020 @ 12:18am

    Can't we by-pass this nonsense. Many of the people who watch the stream will have the game, or may have the music. Find a way to tell the game which music is required to watch the stream (unique identifier plus time-stamp), and play it from a local resource if available. If by accident that unique identifier matches a content hash in a certain format (aka torrent magnet link), well, some people will understand the hint. Some programming required, but not that much it cannot be done over a weekend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Strawb (profile), 14 Dec 2020 @ 12:39am

      Re:

      Bad idea. Many people who watch streamers watch them, in part, because they're playing a game they don't own themselves, and unless the music in a game isn't from an original soundtrack, there's no reason to assume that they have the music, especially with streaming being the new normal.

      This kind of "stream gatekeeping" makes no sense.

      Also, implementing this is just another way of putting the onus on the consumer. Consumers are not the ones who should be roped in to fix this, when the problem stems from stupid laws and greedy corporations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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