In an “effort to be as transparent as possible regarding the removal or restriction of access to user posted content,” social media company Twitter recently announced changes to the site’s Copyright and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) policy.

Instead of merely removing the potentially infringing tweets without explanation, Twitter will now clearly mark Tweets and media pieces that have been withheld to indicate to Twitter users that content has been withheld on the basis of a DMCA complaint by the copyright holder. See the example below:

#Policyupdate:  Twitter Amends DMCA Policy yo Publish Notice of Copyright Complaints

In its policy, Twitter also notes that it may suspend and warn repeat violators and permanently terminate user accounts in more serious cases.

Twitter’s policy change brings its DMCA policy closer to YouTube’s, which upon receipt of a DMCA notification regarding an infringing YouTube video, replaces the video with the message “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by [copyright holder].”

In addition to posting the above message, Twitter also sends a copy of each DMCA notification and counter-notice that is processed by Twitter to Chilling Effects, where the notice (absent the copyright holder’s personal information) is posted to a public website.

Given the new changes to Twitter’s policies, copyright holders (and Twitter users) should take into consideration the fact that DMCA notices sent to Twitter will become public and the public relations implications this may cause.

Furthermore, companies should make sure infringing content is not posted on the company’s Twitter feed, to avoid the negative publicity the above message being posted publically on the company’s Twitter feed could cause.

Shelby Knutson ( / +1 612 321 2207) is an associate in Fulbright’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.