Barstool Sports had a humble beginning; it began as a print
publication in the Boston metropolitan area focusing on gambling and fantasy
sports projections, but quickly grew to now be over 65 brands which include
over 700 social media accounts. These accounts consist of blogs covering all
sports, politics, gambling, video games, travel, food, movies, girls, dogs, etc.
Their most popular account (with 7.6 million followers) is largely made up from
third party videos. Barstool takes videos, photos, and texts other people have
posted and create their own content.
Barstool has faced many legal issues, copywrite being one of them. They have had several videos/phots posted on their Instagram and Twitter accounts without attribution. The most well-known copywrite scandal involved comedian Miel Bredouw. Barstool tweeted a video Bredouw posted in 2016 of her singing a short parody song. Bredouw said she asked Barstool to credit her, but received no response. She then filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown with Twitter, and Twitter removed the content, but not without backlash from Barstool. Barstool bribed Bredouw to retract her DMCA takedown, but Bredouw ignored the offers. Barstool then filed a counter notice. By filing a counter notice this meant that Bredouw had ten days to pursue legal action against the company, or the video could go back up on their account.
Many believe that six strikes with twitter, will close an account. However, Twitter’s Copyright policy does not specifically state the number of violations or strikes an account needs to suspend them. The copywrite policy does state that fraudulent behavior can result in an account’s suspension. According to Twitter’s Copyright policy, filing a counter-notice and serious business and “is the start of a legal process that has legal consequences.” The social media site even recommends speaking to an attorney before filing a counter-notice, as once the notice is filed, it becomes a legal matter that is no longer in Twitter’s hands.
Berdouw did not pursue legal action. And following this dispute, Barstool was reported to have deleted over 60,000 posts from its Twitter account and 1,000 posts from its Instagram account. This shows there is a problem within Twitter’s copywrite policy and possibly other social media sites’ policies. Berdow is obviously not the first or last victim of stolen content.
There is a blatant loophole with the DMCA and this needs to be addressed or else artists and others will be taken advantage of because big companies like barstool know filing a counter- DMCA is too much work and expensive. It was too much for a comedian like Berdouw to pursue, so imagine how difficult it will be for average social media users.
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