Earlier today Twitter exploded when a tweet by US President Donald Trump was taken down for alleged copyright infringement. A copy of the DMCA notice obtained by TorrentFreak shows that Warner Music was behind the takedown. It became the seventh copyright complaint filed against Trump’s Twitter account in 2019 alone, raising questions about Twitter’s repeat infringer policy.
President of the United States Donald Trump is well-known for his love of Twitter.
He currently has well in excess of 65 million followers and regularly uses the platform to promote himself and attack his critics.
Earlier today, Twitter erupted when a tweet by the President, which contained a video attacking the integrity of political rival Joe Biden, received some serious editing thanks to Twitter.
While the words “LOOK AT THIS PHOTOGRAPH!” remained, the actual video had been removed following a copyright infringement complaint.
Trump’s tweet contained a video that has been doing the rounds featuring a photograph central to the recent Biden/Ukraine controversy. However, the photograph itself wasn’t the reason the video was taken down by Twitter.
The viral video contains a clip from Nickelback’s 2005 video ‘Photograph’, prompting speculation that the band itself was behind the takedown sent to Twitter. While they may have had a hand in it, the actual DMCA served on Twitter and obtained by TorrentFreak reveals that the notice was sent by Warner Music.
The cited source material for the takedown indeed points to the ‘Photograph’ video on YouTube, confirming the Nickelback link to the takedown.
Unfortunately, if Trump wanted to legally use the track in a political context, this would usually mean requesting permission from not only the publisher but also Nickelback, who may or may not wish to be associated with the effort. The copyright takedown suggests that the required pieces probably weren’t in place.
Perhaps the most interesting thing when one ignores the political angle of Trump’s tweet is that the President has been in this and similar positions several times before.
The Lumen Database, a repository to which Twitter sends its takedown notices, currently lists at least seven DMCA complaints filed against Trump this year alone, all of which have resulted in the removal of content.
On the other hand, people receiving DMCA notices from the IFPI, which acts as a copyright enforcer for Warner on Twitter and elsewhere, get their accounts terminated for fewer strikes. Perhaps there’s a presidential exemption from the DMCA repeat infringer policy at Twitter.
Notices filed against Trump on Twitter in 2019 can be found here 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (pdf)
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.