Yesterday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk declared that Twitter will now be briefly suspending any accounts discovered to be “partaking in repeated, egregious weaponization” of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Musk’s tweet got here on the identical time that an intense copyright dispute was unfolding that resulted within the suspension of a rightsholder’s Twitter account. The suspension got here after an expert photographer and Twitter person, @NightLights_AM, submitted a takedown discover to a hobbyist Twitter person, @Rainmaker1973, who posted one of many photographer’s movies with out permission.
It’s tough to trace down the complete story right here as a result of the suspended account’s tweets are unavailable, and among the hobbyist account’s tweets have been deleted. And it’s unclear if Musk was conscious of this specific dispute or the next account suspension of the rightsholder. However TorrentFreak documented the DMCA Twitter saga in nice element, gathering archived and cached tweets to piece collectively what occurred.
In line with TorrentFreak, @NightLights_AM is run by Norway-based nature and astrophotographer Adrien Mauduit, whose Twitter feed was full of colourful movies and pictures that he took as an “Aurora chasing specialist.” In early March, Mauduit uploaded a video of a geomagnetic storm that was then embedded in a tweet despatched by @Rainmaker1973, which is run by an Italy-based Twitter person named Massimo.
Massimo, who’s an engineer who makes use of Twitter to “construct the massive image of #science by way of chosen & curated pics, movies & hyperlinks,” credited Mauduit’s account and linked to the unique tweet. However that didn’t cease Mauduit, in accordance with Massimo, from sending a takedown discover.
Seemingly hoping to resolve the dispute, Massimo contacted Mauduit, who then requested for cash, in accordance with Massimo. Ars couldn’t instantly attain Mauduit for remark, however up to now he has not confirmed or denied any of the allegations Massimo has made about their exchanges. TorrentFreak famous that Mauduit could have supposed to ask for licensing charges, however Massimo’s story is that Mauduit is one in every of many content material creators who’ve “blackmailed” him for sharing content material for academic functions through the years.
“I used to be hit by DMCA tens of occasions since 2014 and I used to be suspended as soon as for 3 weeks,” Massimo tweeted. I paid greater than $1,500 to maintain this account open, I’ve paid all these have blackmailed me. I’ve been blocked in error a number of occasions, and I’m struggling occurring like this.”
However with Musk’s new declaration to droop extreme DMCA use, he seems to be extra sympathetic to Twitter customers like Massimo than to Twitter creators like Mauduit. Twitter didn’t reply to Ars’ request to make clear, however TorrentFreak speculated that Musk could have been immediately behind Mauduit’s account suspension.
Though Twitter is required to reply to copyright complaints, Musk has lengthy been a critic of what he considers DMCA weaponization and, much more usually, is against upholding on-line norms the place creators search credit score for unique content material. In 2021, when Musk was criticized for cropping out creators’ names and stealing the memes that he shared, Musk claimed “nobody needs to be credited with something ever,” The New York Occasions reported. And in Might 2022, he tweeted that “overzealous DMCA is a plague on humanity” and “present copyright legislation typically goes absurdly far past defending the unique creator.” So, it’s not essentially shocking that he would shift Twitter coverage to stop such overzealousness on his personal platform.
Musk will not be utterly in opposition to creators with legitimate complaints, in fact, tweeting that “cheap media takedown requests are, in fact, acceptable and can all the time be supported.” The place the road will probably be drawn between cheap and unreasonable has but to be seen, although. [Update: Twitter trust and safety chief Ella Irwin told Ars, “Twitter handles DMCA complaints from rightsholders on a regular basis and we review each complaint to ensure they are valid and if so, we take down the reported content. For all complaints, DMCA and otherwise, we look for evidence of bad faith reporting such as someone claiming to be a rights owner when they actually do not own the rights to the content in question or someone threatening to get a user suspended unless they pay them money immediately, which often turns out to be a fraud scam. If we see evidence of bad faith reporting, we will suspend the reporter.”]
An hour after tweeting about Twitter’s new efforts to stop DMCA weaponization, Musk appeared to appreciate that his tweet didn’t reassure content material creators that the Twitter CEO hopes will probably be a part of his general Twitter monetization technique. He later tweeted that supporting content material creators continues to be a “main precedence,” saying that he understands that “individuals must make a residing and prosper from their work.”
Nobody’s certain how a lot cash Mauduit was making by importing his unique content material to Twitter, however it appears clear that so long as his account is suspended, the photographer will probably be lacking alternatives to advertise his work and prosper from it.