Fans following the online edition of this year’s BlizzCon gaming convention may have been looking forward to a live performance by Metallica – but that’s not what many of them got.

Instead, as the band started to play the Ride the Lightning classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls” from their studio, the live stream on the Twitch platform was suddenly muted and replaced by synth music reminiscent of gaming tunes from the ‘90s. You can experience the disorienting effect below, followed by the uncensored version via another stream.

The censoring was keyed up with the onscreen message: “The upcoming musical performance is subject to copyright protection by the applicable copyright holder." AV Club noted that the “dorkiest” move avoided Twitch “issuing one of their ubiquitous DMCA takedown notices to themselves.” The report added: “[I]t is extremely funny to watch this happen, especially – as many people have pointed out – since Metallica is at least partially responsible for the restrictive character of many online musical streaming laws that dominate the internet today, after their high-profile campaign against Napster way back at the dawn of the MP3.”

Last year, guitarist Kirk Hammett reflected that the band’s famous battle for artists’ control over their music had been a waste of effort, saying: “We didn't make a difference … it was just bigger than any of us, this trend that happened that fucking sunk the fucking music industry. There was no way that we could stop it. ... What had happened was all of a sudden, it was just more convenient to get music and it was less convenient to pay for it, and there you have it."

In his introduction to the new performance, frontman James Hetfield told the audience: “Thanks for having us at BlizzCon 2014. We’d love to be there this year, but obviously can’t be. So here we are, and this is for you.”

Metallica - ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ Censored at BlizzCon

Metallica - ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ Uncensored at Blizzcon

 

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