News Company's 'Digital Audience Director' Fails To Understand Embedding, Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices

from the maybe-understand-the-platforms-before-trying-to-engage-an-audience dept

Here comes DMCA abuse to ruin everyone's retweeting. T. Greg Doucette -- who has been covering acts of violence by police officers in response to George Floyd protests -- was recently hit with a bogus takedown notice on behalf of Seattle's King 5 television station. Here's the start of Doucette's thread on the bogus takedown, during which he begs for the opportunity to "curbstomp" Tegna, Inc. in court for being so stupid as to consider an embedded video to be copyright infringement.

As Doucette explains, the targeted tweet contained a little of his commentary and an embedded retweet of the original video, which was originally posted by King 5 reporter Michael Crowe.

As you can see from the altered-by-takedown-notice tweet, there's still a link to the removed content. Typing in that URL brings up Crowe's original tweet.

That link comes from Twitter's "Tweet This Video" function, which embeds the video in the new tweet, along with a link to the source account. This is all perfectly fine under the Twitter Rules. Users of the service agree to have their content used this way by other users. Retweeting is a large part of Twitter's platform. If users want to opt out, they can make their accounts private, preventing retweets of their tweets or embeds of their videos.

It's also fine under copyright law. The content never moves. Doucette's retweet didn't perform an unauthorized duplication of the content. It linked to the original content through the embed. In essence, Crowe's tweet stayed where it was while Doucette's tweet simply allowed users to view the content through Doucette's account, rather Crowe's.

Tegna, represented by "Director of Digital Audience Development" Ian Hill, didn't just target Doucette with a bogus DMCA notice. It also targeted five other users for using Twitter's "Tweet This Video" function to embed its reporter's video.

Presumably, Tegna's Ian Hill doesn't think he's infringing on anyone's copyright when he does it:

So, what's different about Doucette's tweet? Well, the only difference is Ian Hill hit Doucette with a bogus DMCA takedown notice for doing the same thing Tegna's digital rep did here.

Misunderstanding the platform you're using and the content-sharing tools built into the system is no way to develop a digital audience, Ian. Hopefully Tenga will drop its BS complaints against these users and allow Twitter to restore the non-infringement the company brought misguided force of law against.

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Filed Under: copyright, dmca, embeds, greg doucette, takedown
Companies: king 5 seattle, tegna

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  1. icon
    Federico (profile), 8 Jul 2020 @ 10:29pm

    Embedding is legally precarious

    But in a surprise ruling on Monday, Judge Katherine Failla refused to dismiss McGucken's lawsuit at a preliminary stage. She held that there wasn't enough evidence in the record to decide whether Instagram's terms of service provided a copyright license for embedded photos. -under-the-bus/

    In a judgment issued yesterday, US District Judge Katherine B Forrest held that "when defendants caused the embedded Tweets to appear on their websites, their actions violated plaintiff’s exclusive display right; the fact that the image was hosted on a server owned and operated by an unrelated third party (Twitter) does not shield them from this result."

    T he ruling is also interesting in relation to the practice of certain websites (including newspapers) that directly host third-party video content in respect of which they neither own the rights nor do they have a licence, in lieu of displaying such videos by means of embedded links. While the latter might be lawful (depending on whether the requirements set in Svensson and GS Media are fulfilled), the former might pave the way to a finding of liability. This may be something that we knew already, but that now the CJEU has confirmed.

    But also:

    iii. It is not open to the claimant to contend that there has been an infringement by communication to the public that is in breach of section 169(1)(d). The doctrine laid down by the ECJ in Case-466/12, Svensson, EU:C:2014:76, [24]-[28] and Case 160/15, GS Media BV, EU:C:2016:644, in [41][44] that where photographs have been made freely available with the consent of the right holder, the copyright owner cannot later complain that third parties have linked to or embedded those works from their own websites.

    An older discussion:

    The situation is not clear at all...

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