Starz abuses the DMCA to remove EFF's tweet about Starz abusing the DMCA

Torrentfreak published an article disclosing the fact that screeners of American Gods had leaked online ahead of their air date (they did not make the screeners available, nor did they link to any of the places where the screeners could be downloaded from) and they tweeted about the story.

Starz, who puts out American Gods, sent a bogus DMCA takedown notice for the tweet, claiming that it infringed copyright (the tweet included a screenshot from one of the circulating screeners — a single frame that contained no plot developments or other key materials, and which showed that the leaked copies were labeled as screeners).

Then, Torrentfreak wrote an article about the takedown, which included a quote from EFF attorney Kit Walsh. EFF tweeted about the article, and — wait for it — Starz abused the DMCA again, to remove EFF's link to a story in which the fact that Starz had previously abused the DMCA was disclosed.

You'd think that this could go on all day, but you'd be wrong: EFF has filed a counternotification, and if Starz knows what's good for them, they'll back down, learning a lesson from the eight years of stupid litigation that Universal engaged in to defend its right to abuse the DMCA, before losing big.

Sending a DMCA complaint requires a sworn statement that the person sending the complaint actually believes it to be copyright infringement. Look at this sequence of events again and try to imagine sending a takedown for our tweet honestly believing it to be infringement.

The DMCA process allows us to send a counterclaim, explaining that the tweet is not infringement and directing Twitter to restore the tweet, barring a copyright infringement lawsuit being filed by Starz. We have done so.

DMCA claims can be intimidating, especially to people who don't know the ins and outs of the process. Fortunately, EFF is an organization that definitely knows its rights and how to exercise them. And we'll keep calling out abusive takedowns and helping people defend their rights to speak on the Internet.

EFF's Tweet About an Overzealous DMCA Takedown Is Now Subject to an Overzealous Takedown [Katharine Trendacosta/EFF Deeplinks]