Social media service Twitter recently announced a change to its Copyright and DMCA Policy that will result in more publicity for allegations that content posted on Twitter infringes a U.S. copyright law. This publicity will occur in the allegedly infringing user’s Twitter feed, as well as a third party website that seeks to call attention to overzealous allegations of infringement.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) allows copyright holders who find their content being infringed on the Internet to submit a “takedown notice” in which they demand that the Internet service provider remove the copyrighted material.
Under the Twitter policy, when Twitter removes material an allegedly infringing Tweet or media, it will automatically post a Tweet in the user’s feed, such as the following:
Presumably in an effort to not be viewed as favor one side over the other in the infringement dispute, Twitter will also send a copy of each DMCA takedown request to the Chilling Effects website, where it will be posted for public view.
According to Twitter, the new procedures represent “an effort to be as transparent as possible regarding the removal or restriction of access to user-posted content.”
The Twitter policy follows in the long-lived footsteps of Google, which in 2002 implemented a policy of sharing copies of many DMCA takedown notices to Chilling Effects.
You are not entirely accurate when you describe Chilling Effects as “a website that seeks to call attention to overzealous allegations of infringement.”
You should have used “allegedly seeks”.
It may “seek” to do as you say, but it also by implication defames perfectly legitimate and responsible take down notices and their authors. It is not helpful to suggest that Chilling Effects only posts “bad” or “sloppy” notices.
Wiredshelf is now defunct. It was allegedly a foreign-hosted subscription library that took illegal copies of in copyright ebooks (hundreds of thousands of them) and made them available to paid subscribers. It was allegedly replaced by Nakido which uses the same inventory numbers as wiredshelf did. Nakido does honor DMCA notices in my experience.
As I stated in my DMCA, the version of the book about which I sent a DMCA to Google (after wiredshelf ignored repeated DMCAs) was an illegal scan of a paperback. The publisher of the paperback explicitly and by agreement never had e-rights; the e-rights were licensed elsewhere to a different publisher with a different cover.
Far from being overzealous, my DMCA might have been the most rock solid on the internet. Google’s Search results should not have encouraged people to visit wiredshelf if they were looking for an illegal copy of my work.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. The post above does not address the merits of any particular DMCA notice, nor does it say that every DMCA notice is overzealous. I prepare DMCA notices myself on behalf of clients in appropriate situations, and have responded to DMCA notices in other situations, and agree that they can be useful tools to protect intellectual property rights.
As to whether or not to use the word “allegedly,” I think it’s safe to say that Chilling Effects does seek to call attention to overzealous allegations. The site itself says that its purpose is that it “encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowining on its misuse to ‘chill’ legitimate activity.” The post simply says that Twitter and Google send ALL qualifying DMCA notices to Chilling Effects. So perhaps a better statement would have been that the website simply seeks to call attention to allegations of infringement (whether or not overzealous).
Nice insight. I have a great interest in this area of the law – from a South African perspective. Have you been following (exuse the term) the various Twitter/LinkedIn account ownership matters? Phonedog and the Eagle v. Morgan. My take here: http://regulatorylawsa.blogspot.com/2012/11/who-owns-your-twitter-followers.html. Would love your feedback. Regards
Thanks Lee. Your post — and especially the recommendations for companies who want to proactively address ownership matters — is very useful guidance.