Twitter, partnering with, publishes a year's worth of DMCA takedown notices (all 4,410 of them)

From an article by Jake Brodkin at Ars Technica:

"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."

Here's the database on (Twitter's effort to expand partnership with Chilling Effects on this issue and the "country-specific censorship" policy is, IMO, most laudable.)


  1. Twitter deserves only a small amount of credit for having posted these.  After glancing at a handful of these DMCA complaints (admittedly not a large sample), these complaints appear to be pretty much entirely bogus, and demonstrate just how completely spineless Twitter is in terms of responding to such  complaints.

    As one example, the very first listed takedown notice was for the following tweet, about the high cost of sheet music:”Pasek and Paul’s sheet music is $105 on their site…but it’s free on > haha.” 

    There is nothing remotely infringing about such a tweet.  It is merely stating a fact, that unauthorized (and probably infringing) copies of the sheet music are available from the Pirate Bay.  

    However, the tweet itself does not contain any material that could plausibly infringe a valid copyright.  Merely stating that pirated materials are available from another source does not equal copyright infringement.Rather than pointing out this obvious fact, Twitter instead caved and removed the tweet — even though it had no valid reason to do so.!/_likebreathing/status/154706873210241024 

    As another example, the second listed takedown notice was for the following tweet:


    That’s it — just a status update with a number.According to the DMCA notice for this tweet, this tweet  reportedly “links to another website where the infringing material is made available.”  (Apparently, a movie.)  Even if true, that doesn’t make the tweet itself an example of copyright infringement. 

    The DMCA takedown process is designed to provide a defense in court against copyright infringement.  If there isn’t any infringement to begin with, then there’s no reason to take down a page in response to a bogus DMCA notice.

    According to this article, this spinelessness is a common practice by Twitter.  Twitter has even gone so far as to ban users due to similarly bogus DMCA notices in the past.

    1. My favorite is

      “Where does this Tweet link to?: The Tweet links to another website where the infringing material is made available.” “Where is the infringing material?: The linked website links to another website where the infringing material is available for display or download.”

      Three links deep is good enough for a DMCA takedown? With three jumps you can find just about anything.

    2. “…these complaints appear to be pretty much entirely bogus, and demonstrate just how completely spineless Twitter is in terms of responding to such complaints.”

      Do we know for certain that these takedown notices resulted in any action on Twitter’s part?

      In my experience, most DMCA takedown notices are bogus, and most of the time if you ignore them there’s nothing to worry about.  But the problem is, if even 1/10th of these takedown notices were to result in a lawsuit Twitter would have a huge problem on their hands since US law forces the defendant to pay for representation in a civil trial — even if they court rules in their favor.

      Guess what I’m saying is, don’t hate the player: hate the game.

      1. From my quick review of some of these DMCA notices, it looks like Twitter caved — for the first one, for example, Twitter now states that the tweet referenced in the notice “doesn’t exist.”  The same is true for other tweets referenced in other DMCA notices.!/_likebreathing/status/154706873210241024 

        According to the TechDirt article above, Twitter has been even more ruthless than necessary — they’ve banned certain users that have been the subject of DMCA notices, even though a total ban isn’t required under the DMCA.

        Concerning attorneys’ fees, I agree in part.  The general rule in the US is that each side pays their own attorneys fees.  For a major company the size of Twitter, however, that’s just the cost of doing business — they face lawsuits all of the time, whether legitimate or not.

        The rules under the DMCA statute are somewhat different.  If a copyright holder submits a DMCA notice that they know is bogus, they can be required to pay the other side’s attorneys fees.  (Section 512(f)(2).)  

        If Twitter stood up and challenged a few of these bogus DMCA notices, then people would sit up and pay attention — “don’t mess with Twitter and file fraudulent DMCA notices.” Instead, Twitter just plays the game and takes down “infringing” tweets, regardless of whether or not they are actually infringing.

    3. OK, so Twitter evidently does not want to get into that entire “infringing material” quagmire and spend any of their time fighting copyright trolls. Regrettable, but hardly damning.

      Twitter is, after all, not a public space. As a free and gratis service it gets to choose wich areas of interest they want to operate in. Just like any other site, it is their supreme prerogative to decide and moderate what gets through their system according to any unfair batshit weird rules of conduct that they may decide to impose.So far, this transperacy of their shows that they don’t usually take down stuff that actually matters, such as posts where people express an actual opinion or relay information about current events. The examples you give in your post all look like link spam, quite frankly, and chances are that if they showed up here on Disqus  without any context they would just be caught in a filter without any due process.

  2. Harsh & overstated. Someone’s obsessing. In the vast scheme of things, Twitter has done far more good than harm. Go ahead, dispute that.  Oh that’s right, you can’t.

  3. I find it hilarious/depressing that for all of the ones I looked at, the infringement was described thus: “The linked website links to another website where the infringing material is available for display or download.”
    For realz?

    1. Soon it will be , ‘.. the tenth website link form the original (possible one of several thousands of algorithmic linkings , contains copyright infringment, lock down all sites and confiscate all IP addressed computer units. Eventually, no one will be using the internet, at that rate. Short wave radio on the other hand….

  4. Just randomly checking out a few of the notices…

    Description of original work: Copyrighted website/model images and videos inside member protected area at paysite wearehairy(dot)com

    Not wanting any unforgettable images to join goatse in my nightmares I didn’t check the link, but the mental image is hilarious enough… I’m imagining the lawyer in a full-on Furry costume presenting arguments to the court.

    Ooohhh… if it’s a jury of peers, does that mean the jury box is full of costumed animals too?

    Or does the web site disappointingly display the merely hirsute?

  5. Again…there is an solid open source twitter clone option called from the people at

  6. The sheet music? Much less arguably anything if it wasn’t a *link*.  I know, I know, if you can’t find something by name in two seconds you’re at the back of the bus, but there’s a hint of facilitation.  Sheet music is hilariously expensive and historically litigious, mind.

    The just-numbers posts are so obviously bots, where a human would post “Guys guys guys, follow this bot for neato stuffs!” (possibly without the enthuiastic gushing).  It’s a pretty thin layer of separation.

    DMCA takedowns are, generally, a spinelessly compliant bunch, because DMCA compliant sites are anxious about preserving that safe harbor thing.  Even so, only four thousand over a year? For the whole of Twitter? And its *billions* of tweets per week? .  I don’t like to tell people what to do, but I think this is the wrong windmill at which to tilt, Don Quixote.

  7. This story links to a site that links to a list that includes links that are clearly linking to infringing content. You guys are living on the edge.

  8. This is THE lamest attempt at rebuilding a shat on reputation since ur granddad said he knew all about that hip disco music.

  9. I think the real question on all of our minds is, how many degrees away from the infringing material is Kevin Bacon?

  10. There was also a site completedly wiped off on MSN.  It contained at least 7years of contributors ”intellectual property” or simply their own personal views and records, from their hearts and minds. The site discussion areas were completely wiped, apparently, because one or two users were being abusive, we heard. There is perhaps no obvious direct link between this and the current twitter case but they ‘are’ both surrounded by the same principle or ‘imprinciple’ as is the case, one thinks.

  11. That first one with the Pasek & Paul sheet music: That guy said it was available on “”. So if he just said “it’s availabe on pirate bay”, they couldn’t issue a DMCA cause it’s not a link? 

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