Technology

Twitter Blocks Accounts Sharing Sports Highlights Without Asking

Twitter is taking strict action against digital media properties that do not get the required permissions before publishing highlights of football games on their platforms. Cracking down on such sites, the micro-blogging firm suspended the accounts of guilty media firms.

Twitter Blocks Accounts Sharing Sports Highlights Without Asking

Takedown requests not taken seriously

Twitter suspended the main account run by Gawker Media’s Deadspin sports site. This site had been sharing GIF and video highlights of NFL games. Another account, @SBNationGIF, run by Vox Media-owned SB Nation, was also suspended over the weekend for posting GIFs of college football highlights.

Twitter provided Re/code with the takedown notices based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It read that NFL sent more than a dozen takedown notices to Deadspin, while XOS Digital sent eight takedown notices to SB Nation. The ownership of various college football digital broadcasting rights rests with XOS Digital, which also represents the SEC and Big 12 conferences.

John Cook, Editor of Gawker Media, confirmed the takedown requests to Re/Code, although there have been no comments from a Vox Media spokesperson. In an email, Cook informed the media outlet that the company received “18 takedown notices about 16 tweets,” all of which came from the NFL. “The tweets in question are still up, but Twitter has of its own accord stripped them of the allegedly offending GIFs,” the editor said. In Twitter’s words, the account was suspended from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Eastern.

Twitter takes a hard approach

Deadspin was infringing upon NFL copyrights, because of which the league lodged complaints against it, according to a confirmation an NFL spokesperson gave to Re/Code. “The NFL sent routine notices as part of its copyright enforcement program requesting that Twitter disable links to more than a dozen pirated NFL game videos and highlights that violate the NFL’s copyrights,” the NFL said in a statement, adding that it did not request that Twitter suspend any account.

Sharing video highlights is pretty normal on the Internet, but it remains controversial, especially when we talk about high-value content like sports highlights. Major TV outlets make huge payments worth millions of dollars for acquiring the rights to air games. Sports is one of the few things that audiences love to watch live. The segment has maintained its ad value despite a decline in overall TV ratings.

Twitter chose not to comment on specific accounts.