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IFPI submission to EU Piracy Watch List calls out Twitter

By | Published on Wednesday 6 April 2022


The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has urged the European Commission to include Twitter on the next edition of its Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List, reckoning the social media firm doesn’t do enough to deal with both unlicensed content directly uploaded to the platform, and links distributed via the service to other piracy websites.

The Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List is basically the European version of the Notorious Markets list that the US government produces each year that runs through all the websites that are currently annoying copyright owners – either because they are overt piracy operations or because they facilitate piracy in some way.

With both lists, copyright owners can make submissions suggesting what websites and platforms should be featured. The IFPI made its latest submission to the EC in February, and that submission was posted by Torrentfreak yesterday.

That submission begins, unsurprisingly, with stream-ripping sites, which have been a top piracy gripe for the music industry for some time. And there are sections covering other kinds of piracy operations too, plus the cyber-lockers that have legitimate uses but can also be used for sharing unlicensed music and movies.

But there are also sections hitting out at social media and messaging platforms which, the IFPI reckons, are not doing enough to stop their platforms from being used to facilite the unlicensed distribution of music.

Of the big social media platforms, Twitter remains that one that hasn’t yet placated the music industry by entering into licensing deals to legitimise all the music that appears in videos uploaded by its users. As a result, it has become the big social media platform that music industry reps are most likely to diss in public.

And aside from not entering into the sorts of licensing deals secured by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, the IFPI adds, Twitter has also failed to put in place decent systems to allow copyright owners to effectively police the unlicensed use of their music on the platform.

So, while the record labels constantly alert Twitter to unlicensed music on its platform, it “still does not take steps to prevent future infringements of content that has been notified. Consequently, IFPI and its member companies spend a significant amount of time and resources identifying and notifying reappearances of the same content”.

“What is more, unlike any other platform, Twitter charges right-holders large amounts of money for the ability to search for tweets on its API that include or link to infringing content, at scale and without a time limitation. In other words, Twitter is not only outsourcing to right-holders the task of trying to remove [copyright] infringements from its platform but is also generating revenue thanks to the presence and large volume of repeat infringements on its platform”.

Twitter is aware of these issues, it goes on, but “has not taken steps expected from a diligent operator to prevent or at least minimise the use of their platform for copyright infringement”. To that end, the trade group says, “Twitter should be listed on the EU Counterfeit And Piracy Watchlist, which would incentivise them to do more to prevent infringements occurring and recurring on its platform”.

Other social media and messaging platforms that could and should be doing more to stop infringement on their networks, the IFPI submissions also says, include Discord, Reddit, Vimeo and Telegram, while internet services company Cloudflare also gets a mention. You can download the full submission via Torrentfreak here.