Here, read this. The author got his tweet removed via a DMCA takedown notice that read like this:
jp917, Apr 22 03:10 pm (PDT):
The following material has been removed from your account in response to a DMCA take-down notice:
Tweet: http://twitter.com/jp917/statuses/12499491144 – New Post: Leaked: The National – High Violet http://jpsblog.net/2010/04/20/leaked-the-national-high-violet/
As he points out, this didn’t actually point to any copyright-violating files. The link just discusses the leak.
I don’t think this is deliberate suppression of the discussion of piracy. What I think is probably happening is this:
- Copyright-holding Corporation A pays Technical Vendor B to monitor Twitter for leaked albums. They can do this cheaply by creating an automated process that looks for band names and the word “leaked”, or through some other simple heuristic.
- Matching results are turned into DMCA takedown notices with a minimum (or no?) human intervention.
- Twitter receives the notices, removes the user’s content and notifies the user with a minimum (or no?) human intervention.
The user is then free to make a counterclaim! Unfortunately, there is not a button or script for that. Before long he or she will have to pick up the phone, find a lawyer, and pay that lawyer to fight on their behalf.
This is flatly unacceptable. The need for a DMCA-style simplification of the takedown process is understandable, but this level of automation of the process should not be tolerated. As currently structured, it’s a surefire recipe for Type I errors. We’ve known this about the DMCA takedown process all along, of course, but this really brings it into stark relief — there’s a huge power asymmetry introduced by the DMCA, so much so that the rights-holders it empowers can’t even be bothered to follow a link and read a paragraph. Why would they? There’s no incentive for them to.
There ought to be substantial sanctions — payable to the counterclaimant — that can be recovered when copyright holders suppress legal content through spurious claims. Let’s get some of those much-maligned trial lawyers up in here.