Everyday people use Twitter as platform to get digital content out to the public. Sometimes the content being tweeted is either unauthorized or pirated. When this happens Twitter is asked to take down the tweets.
But Twitter has taken the unusual step of making DMCA takedown notices public, in partnership with Chilling Effects, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities. The site shows 4,410 cease and desist notices dating back to November 2010. While most of 2011 shows daily or near-daily activity, there is just one notice in January 2012, suggesting either that Twitter is suddenly receiving fewer DMCA takedown notices or that the database is not quite up to date. (If we find out from Twitter or Chilling Effects, we’ll update the story.)
Scrolling through recent takedown notices, you’ll see names like Magnolia Pictures, Simon and Schuster, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, among those of many other media companies. A typical takedown notice contains links to tweets that in turn link to websites where pirated versions of copyrighted material is distributed. Attempting to locate the actual tweet from the notice invariably leads to a Twitter.com error page saying “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” Movies, music, footage of cricket matches and stolen photographs of an actress in states of undress have all inspired DMCA notices.