Earlier this month, Twitter announced an important change to its copyright and DCMA takedown policy, completely altering its process for responding to and resolving copyright infringement claims. Twitter states that the change is designed to promote transparency in the resolution process and encourage just and expedient resolutions of valid copyright infringement complaints.
Under Twitter’s original policy, allegedly infringing tweets were removed upon receipt of a valid copyright complaint; if the user provided a valid counter response, Twitter would manually repost the tweet to the user’s account. Under the new policy, however, Twitter will replace allegedly infringing tweets with a message explaining the tweets were “withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder,” with a link to the changed policy. Images and other media withheld by Twitter under similar circumstances will be replaced with the following message: “Media not displayed: This image has been removed in response to report from the copyright holder.” In addition, Twitter will now forward copies of the DCMA challenges to tweets to Chilling Effects.
At least one apparent advantage of the revised approach is that a record of Twitter’s copyright and complaint processes are preserved in Twitter’s database, rather than removed from the database entirely. Meanwhile, critics argue that users may be confused by the new policy, and users themselves have expressed frustration and confusion over how Twitter evaluates the validity of copyright complaints. However, many internet rights advocates are praising Twitter and expect the changes to result in more just, expedient resolutions of valid copyright complaints.