Bogus DMCA Takedown against a Single Tweet

Mike Masnick at Techdirt has both the details and a good analysis. The tweet in question was posted by a music blogger, JP, and linked to a post on his blog. The tweet itself didn’t infringe or directly link to infringing material. That didn’t stop some rights holder from targeting Twitter, specifically, and the social messaging service from rolling over.

As Masnick explains, the post on JP’s blog links to a couple of files that may be infringing. At most that post on his blog should be the target of a takedown, not his tweet. Undoubtedly, like many takedowns, some lawyer fired this off with little thought or investigation. This is an excellent example of the problematic asymmetry in costs inherent in the DMCA takedown system. Without any burden on the issuer the calculus inevitably leads to firing off a demand letter even when the intent isn’t even prior restraint on speech. This could be a legitimate mistake stemming from simple ignorance but a small amount of friction might have correctly preempted it.

Worst is the cost on countering a DMCA takedown, especially for a fast moving service like Twitter. The normal delays in dealing with a counter claim hardly make it worth the effort. Who is going to be interested in a tweet restored from two week’s back? I dearly hope this isn’t the head end of a new trend to use searchers that work with social streams to spot words like “leak” and indiscriminately issue takedowns.

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