Twitter copyright enforcement gets ridiculous, obstructs links to news articles

Copyright madness–.

Starz filed phony takedown demands– Twitter eventually restored blocked tweets.

Wooden blocks with letters printed on them spelling out the word,


Twitter and Starz have actually provided us a new example of how copyright enforcement can easily overdo it.

At Starz’s request, Twitter blocked an April 8 tweet by the news site TorrentFreak, which had actually published a link to among its news short articles about piracy. News coverage about piracy is undoubtedly not the exact same thing as piracy, and the short article included only still images from pirated TV shows and did not tell readers where pirated content could be downloaded. Regardless of that, Twitter obstructed access to the tweet in response to the copyright takedown request by Starz, whose show American Gods was pointed out in the TorrentFreak post.

Here’s what the tweet looked like before the takedown:

Screenshot of a TorrentFreak tweet from before it was removed by Twitter.

Screenshot of a TorrentFreak tweet from prior to it was eliminated by Twitter.


On April 11, hours after the tweet was obstructed, TorrentFreak composed a post about the takedown and priced estimate an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) lawyer as saying that the takedown was improper since news coverage about piracy is not unlawful. The EFF then published a tweet that included a link to the brand-new TorrentFreak post and a portion of the EFF quote from the post. Twitter then blocked that EFF tweet in response to another Starz request, even though the EFF tweet merely connected to the brand-new TorrentFreak short article about the takedown and slammed Twitter’s decision to obstruct the first tweet.

Here’s a take a look at the EFF tweet:

Screenshot of an EFF tweet that was blocked by Twitter.

Enlarge/ Screenshot of an EFF tweet that was obstructed by Twitter.


” Prepare for a tale as good as anything you ‘d see on tv,” EFF Policy Expert Katharine Trendacosta composed yesterday “Here’s the series of occasions: the website TorrentFreak releases a post about a leak of TV episodes, consisting of shows from the network Starz. TorrentFreak tweets its article, Starz sends a copyright takedown notification. TorrentFreak composes about the takedown, including a remark from EFF. EFF tweets the post about the takedown and the initial short article. EFF’s tweet … gets struck with a takedown.”

The tweets were still unattainable today and early afternoon however are now noticeable again here and here When called by Ars, Twitter said it was bring back the tweets that it formerly eliminated since of the Starz takedown notifications. Starz excused the inaccurate takedown notices, Variety reported today

The TorrentFreak tweet was obstructed for 4 days before being brought back. The EFF tweet was obstructed for about one day.

Starz deserves blame for sending bogus takedown notices. However Twitter could have avoided the mess by carrying out even a general evaluation of Starz’s demands, which used no evidence of copyright infringement.

DMCA takedowns

Like other online platforms that count on user-generated content, Twitter provides copyright owners a simple way to report content that infringes copyright. This kind of procedure protects sites from legal action by supplying a “safe harbor” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Starz utilized a third-party company called The Social Component to send out DMCA takedown demands on its behalf. Starz’s vendor sent the very first takedown demand to Twitter after TorrentFreak published a tweet consisting only of the heading and link to its April 8 post, which was titled, “Pirated Promotion Screeners of American Gods and Other TV-Shows Drip Online.” The TorrentFreak post explains a current increase in leakages of advertising copies of episodes, which are normally sent to reviewers and are expected to be kept private, suggesting that “a serious security hole has been made use of.”

” According to the takedown notice, Starz argues that the tweet is infringing due to the fact that it links to a post where individuals can see ‘of images of the unreleased episodes’ and find more ‘info about their prohibited schedule,'” TorrentFreak wrote on April 11, hours after the tweet was obstructed by Twitter.

TorrentFreak continued:

For the record, our short article only consists of a single recognizable frame from a dripped American Gods episode, to reveal the screener watermarks, which are main to the story. That’s simply 0.001 percent of the episode in concern, without audio, which is generally viewed as fair use, especially in a news context.

When it comes to the claim that the short article consists of information about the shows’ “prohibited schedule,” we only point out that they are being shared on pirate websites, without offering any names or links. That’s no ground for a takedown demand.

EFF Senior Staff Lawyer Kit Walsh concurred, stating in the post that “Starz has no right to silence TorrentFreak’s news post or block links to it. The post reports that there are people on the Web infringing copyright, however that is a far cry from being an infringement itself.”

Walsh even more argued that “The screenshots are important parts of the reporting that validate the realities being reported. Starz needs to withdraw its takedown and avoid bugging journalists in the future.”

EFF tweet blocked

When the EFF utilized its official Twitter account to publish a link to the new TorrentFreak short article and consisted of a snippet from Walsh’s quote, its tweet was also suppressed.

” A few days later on, we also got a takedown and our tweet was obstructed,” Trendacosta wrote. “At this moment, you may have seen simply how far removed we are from anything that remotely resembles copyright violation.”

Twitter acted on Starz’s DMCA notice despite the fact that it didn’t present a convincing case that the EFF’s tweet violated Starz’s copyright.

” In the field labeled ‘links to original work,’ Starz composed ‘n/a,'” Trendacosta composed. “To reiterate: in the field about where the initial work being infringed on can be located, the answer is ‘not appropriate.’ Under ‘Description of violation,’ it says, ‘Link to bootleg.’ There’s no bootleg link in any of the short articles or tweets.”

The EFF challenged Twitter directly. “The DMCA process allows us to send a counterclaim, explaining that the tweet is not violation and directing Twitter to restore the tweet, disallowing a copyright violation lawsuit being submitted by Starz. We have actually done so,” Trendacosta wrote yesterday. Twitter’s choice to bring back the tweets followed that difficulty.

Twitter’s copyright policy states it will react to reports of copyright violation about “tweets consisting of links to presumably infringing materials.” However the policy also notes that “not all unauthorized uses of copyrighted products are infringements,” and it encourages copyright holders to think about whether a tweet is fair usage before sending a copyright complaint.

We contacted Starz today and haven’t heard back yet. However Starz discussed itself in its declaration to Variety, stating that it hired a third-party vendor to perform copyright enforcement after a recent security breach.

Starz told Range:

The strategies and innovations used in these efforts are not always ideal, and as such it appears that in this case, some posts were inadvertently caught up in the sweep that might fall outside the DMCA standards … That was never our intention and we ask forgiveness to those who were incorrectly targeted. We remain in the process of examining all of the impacted posts along with the scope and procedure for the previous takedowns and are working with our suppliers to renew any such content that was inappropriately targeted for removal.

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