Twitter Adds Transparency to DMCA Takedown Procedure
Twitter Adds Transparency to DMCA Takedown Procedure

Twitter has added some new elements to its DMCA takedown procedure that add more transparency to the process.

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Tweets that have received a takedown notice will indicate they have been withheld due to a response from a copyright holder. Any media, such as a picture, will also be replaced with a similar message. Twitter will no longer simply remove the tweet once a takedown request has been received. A Twitter user can file a counter-notice without the tweet being entirely removed.

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The new procedure offers far more transparency for third parties. Other Twitter users can read why the contents of the tweet were removed and leave comments on the takedown request. Journalists and bloggers will not be in the dark about a particular tweet's disappearance.

Twitter gets fewer takedown requests than Google, although the viral nature of Twitter means any single tweet can have a large impact. ChillingEffects.org, the online clearinghouse for DMCA takedown requests, lists only 189 cease and desist notices sent to Twitter from September 5 to October 24. ChillingEfects.org had only 4,410 listed going back to November 2010 when its Twitter database went public in January. Many requests have come from movie studios, such as Lionsgate and Magnolia Pictures. RCA Music Group and Megaforce Records are among the record labels to issue takedown requests for tweets that linked to downloads of their music.

Twitter's procedure follows the one used by Google to strip infringing search results out of its search results. The result is often page after page of useless links with explanations that copyright holders have requested their removal.

Google implemented a system in August that punishes domains that receive takedown requests from copyright holders. It appears to be a work in progress, however. A search for a Carley Rae Jepsen or Lady Gaga, for example, with the term "MP3" lists between 4 and 6 illegal sites before the first legal download site (which is Amazon MP3 in both cases).

Nevertheless, Google processes a huge number of requests from copyright owners. The Google Transparency Report site says in just the last month the company has received copyright removal requests for its search site for 7.64 million specific URLs related to 30,987 domains from 2,225 copyright owners. The BPI and the RIAA represent 1.2 million and 802,000 of those URLs, respectively. Not include in those numbers are removal requests related to YouTube and Google's Blogger platform.

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