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Twitter doesn't want to share this link about TV piracy

American gods, one of the TV shows that was released online and became a DMCA dispute on Twitter
Photo: Starz

Twitter is home to some of the most dangerous neo-Nazis, racists and homophobes on the planet. But don't even think of a discussion of one topic that seems to be taboo on the platform: Piracy of TV Shows.

Twitter has removed numerous tweets over the weekend related to newspapers about some TV episodes that have leaked online. And then Twitter even removed subsequent tweets about deleting.

TorrentFreak, a news site that regularly reports on piracy and copyright issues, released its April 8 story on the fact that episodes of several TV shows like American gods, 100, Bless this mess, a Knightfall he escaped online before they had to air. Episodes are watermark sorters that are typically given to television reviewers. TorrentFreak called leak "one of the biggest violations."

The tweets seem to have been deleted in response to a notice of neglect of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) filed by Starz, according to e-mail notifications sent to journalist Mathew Ingram and reviewed by Gizmod. Starz is broadcasting American gods but they do not own all the exhibitions that have leaked online.

TorrentFreak's original news article did not link to pirated websites that host shows. But that didn't stop Twitter from deleting multiple tweets from people who joined TorrentFreak. Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) tweet has been deleted.

Screenshot: Starz / TorrentFreak

The original news story used screenshots like the one above to illustrate that the movies were screeners, complemented by the watermark of someone named "Jessica New Year's Eve". The message, "For screening purposes only", is also visible in the image, along with a watermark for the 1XBET gambling site. It is not uncommon for gambling to connect with content pirates to gain a better insight into their name.

To make things even more complicated, Twitter removed tweets that refer to the April 11 TorrentFreak follow-up story in a process that Ingram called "Kafka-esque". The ingram tweet about the subsequent story was cleared over the weekend.

"I think it's an extremely excessive interpretation of the DMCA and I'm disappointed that Twitter agreed to lower my tweet – and a similar tweet to EFF – when it doesn't break it clearly," journalist Mathew Ingram Gizmodo told DM via Twitter. "And I think it's very worrying that Twitter is downloading tweets that contain links to news in them."

Twitter yesterday confirmed receiving an email from Gizmodo, but did not answer any questions about deleted tweets. If you try to find insulting tweets online, they are listed as "detained".

Screenshot: Twitter

Yes, copyright holders have the right to issue DMCAs when their content is used inappropriately. But again, TorrentFreak just reported the existence of piracy without joining him. If this happens, it is a dangerous precedent for copyright on the Internet.

Gizmodo will update this article if we hear back from Twitter.


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