Twitter to flag tweets accused of violating copyrights

According to Twitter's copyright policy, a withheld tweet will read as follows: "This tweet from @username has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder."

The company will send a copy of each take-down notice and response from the user about a tweet that may link to pirated content to Chilling Effects, a website run by a group of law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation that collects legal complaints about online activity.  Personal information about the user will be stripped from the documents posted to the site. 

The change to Twitter's copyright policy was first reported by GigaOM.

Jeremy Kessel, Twitter's legal policy manager, announced the tweak to Twitter's copyright policy — by tweet, naturally — over the weekend. Kessel tweeted a link to Twitter's copyright policy and wrote: "We now offer more #transparency in processing copyright reports by withholding Tweets, not removing."

The Twitter spokesman said the company had previously deleted a tweet that may direct users to copyright infringing material "without any language explaining the takedown" and then reposted the tweet to its feed "if/when we got a valid counter response." The pirated material may include links to illicit copies of movies, music or other types of content.

This summer Twitter released data about how many copyright take-down notices it received in the first half of 2012 and the number of infringing tweets it removed, along with other relevant data. Twitter reported that it received 3,378 take-down notices in the first six months of this year.  

-- This post was updated at 4:04 p.m. to clarify that Twitter's policy refers to tweets that may link to infringing material.