On Friday, the micro-blogging site Twitter yet again came under the scanner for blocking Union Minister of Law and Justice, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad (RS Prasad) for allegedly violating the copyright act of the United States of America.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad posted a tweet saying something highly peculiar happened to his account. The Minister said that Twitter had denied access to his account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA.
Though the Twitter account of the Minister was visible for public viewing, Twitter did not allow anyone authorised to access this particular account to log in or make any post, according to reports.
When the minister tried to access the Twitter account @rsprasad, Twitter sent them a message saying, “Your account has been locked because Twitter received a compliant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice for content posted to your Twitter account. Under the DMCA copyright owners can notify Twitter claiming that a user has infringed their copyrighted works. Upon receipt of a valid notice, Twitter will remove the identified material. Twitter maintains a repeat copyright infringer policy under repeat infringer accounts will be suspended. Accruing multiple DMCA strikes may lead to suspension of your account.”
As it turns out, RS Prasad’s Twitter account was blocked for a post from his account in 2017.
On 16th December 2017 when India celebrates Vijay Diwas, RS Prasad had posted a video which was a tribute collage for those who laid their lives down during 1971 where India defeated Pakistan and Bangladesh was born as an independent country.
The background music of that video had ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’, sung by AR Rahman, produced by Sony Music.
This information came to the fore after Twitter published the Lumen data where it showed clearly that it was based on this post that the access to Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Twitter handle was blocked.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. It criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works
The post by RS Prasad that used Maa Tujhe Salaam as the background music was flagged as a copyright violation by the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) as can be seen from the ‘sender’ information on the DMCA notice.
The post was reported by Sony Music Entertainment, however, it is pertinent to note that DMCA is prone to be misused by many elements. Several YouTube subscribers have also suffered due to the law especially since the DMCA gives no time limit within which an alleged copyright infringement is to be reported.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is an organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a non-profit members’ organisation registered in Switzerland and founded in Italy in 1933.
In 2020, Twitter had removed the display picture of Amit Shah’s account for ‘copyright violations’, had called it inadvertent error
Twitter in November 2020 had removed the display picture of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in response to a “report from the copyright holder”. A message was then displayed on the display image section of Home Minister Amit Shah’s Twitter profile saying “Media not displayed”. The micro-blogging site stated in the message that the picture has been removed after someone claimed ‘copyright’ on it.
Twitter had locked Home Minister Amit Shah’s account after the copyright claim on his display image, which was a part of his official portrait according to Shah’s website.
Such action is generally taken if an individual claims copyright on the image that is being used by someone in their Twitter profile. However, so far, it was assumed that such action would only be taken after basic verification of such claims.
Twitter, after its unilateral action, had issued a clarification calling this action taken by it against Amit Shah’s Twitter profile an ‘inadvertent error’.
A Twitter spokesperson had said, “Due to an inadvertent error, we temporarily locked this account under our global copyright policies. This decision was reversed immediately and the account is fully functional”.