Twitter has temporarily suspended the account for Gawker Media’s sports site Deadspin for violating copyright by sharing GIFs and videos of highlights from NFL games. It also suspended one of Vox Media’s SB Nation accounts for tweeting GIFs of college football games.
Gawker Media Executive Editor John Cook told Recode:
“We got 18 takedown notices about 16 tweets. All of the tweets included GIFs, and all of the requests were filed by the NFL. The account was reinstated after we appealed the deactivation. The tweets in question are still up, but Twitter has of its own accord stripped them of the allegedly offending GIFs. All in all, the account was, in Twitter’s words, ‘permanently suspended’ from 5:30 pm to 7:45 pm [EST].”
A spokesperson for the NFL confirmed that it sent takedown notices to Twitter as it believed over a dozen tweets were in violation of its copyrights, but didn’t request the suspension of any Twitter accounts.
SB Nation received eight takedown notices from XOS Digital, which owns various college football digital broadcasting rights. The @SBNationGIF account was suspended over the weekend; at the time of writing, it had not yet been restored.
Twitter declined to comment on specific accounts to Recode.
While it isn’t the first time accounts have been suspended on the grounds of copyright violations (FIFA got Twitter to suspend @ReplayLastGoal last summer for automatically generating and sharing highlights from the World Cup), these suspensions are notable as the social network recently signed a two-year contract with the NFL to run sanctioned clips.
It’s not yet clear if this incident sets a precedent for how the company will tackle such violations in the future.
Twitter has over 200 content publishers like Fox, MTV and FX signed up to its Amplify program, and with the launch of its new ad service to better monetize video on its platform, it could spells trouble for the millions of users who tweet clips and memes from TV shows, movies and other copyrighted content.
We’ve contacted Twitter for comment on its plans to handle future copyright violations and will update this post when we hear back.