My term paper for video game law is focused on the use of music – both licensed and original – in games, and the copyright regime and DMCA takedown process involved in the sharing and streaming of games online. In researching this, I came across an interesting approach to DMCA strikes taken by developer CD Projekt Red in their upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077, which features 150 songs from a wide variety of artists signed to different labels and distributors. Cyberpunk 2077 will include a ‘streamer-friendly mode,’ which will disable tracks potential subject to copyright strikes from the in-game rotation. The mode will automatically be toggled on when streaming the game from console, and allow PC users to toggle the feature on and off. The announcement of this feature comes after a large wave of DMCA takedown requests filed with Twitch, leading to the removal of a large amount of archived content being deleted in October, without warning to creators and with little to no recourse for improper claims or removals. Cyberpunk’s feature has been heralded as an useful and exciting innovation, but commentators have also observed the absurdity of an individual game company having to take these steps in face of the inaction on behalf of the platforms hosting this content.
Discussion of the Streamer Friendly Mode occurs at 19:30 in the video above.
From what I’ve been able to discern, there is not currently a list of which specific licensed songs will be removed from in-game rotation. Nor is it clear if this has resulted from differing terms of licenses from individual songs, or either expressed or presumed differences in the likelihood of different labels taking action against streamed music. It will also be interesting to see if the list of songs for streamer mode stays fixed with the titles release, or changes over time depending on the duration of CD Projekt Red’s licenses with individual tracks. This is also the first instance of a ‘streamer-friendly mode’ I’ve come across, but it will be interesting to see if future titles follow suit (and if anyone has heard of a feature like this before, please let me know, I’d love to learn more!)