- Barstool Sports’ founder said his company was “moronic” in its online spat with a comedian.
- The comedian, Miel Bredouw, said Barstool posted a video clip of hers on Twitter without crediting her, then messaged her hundreds of times and offered her money to drop her complaint against the company.
- The case also illustrates how Twitter’s policy for handling copyright claims puts the burden on creators.
Barstool Sports’ founder said he regretted his company’s “moronic” behaviour in a spat with a comedian who said the site posted a video of hers without crediting her.
The fight started when Barstool posted a video in December of a clip by Miel Bredouw in which she sings the words of a raunchy Three 6 Mafia song, “Slob on My Knob,” to the tune of “Carol of the Bells.” Bredouw said that when Barstool didn’t respond to her request to credit her, she filed a complaint with Twitter to have the video taken down.
WOW. OK. THREAD ALERT.
I wasn't going to say anything because I am *above* drama but actually completely 10000% fuck Barstool Sports. if any legal ppl/twitter ppl want to help me out here, please hit me up. EITHER WAY, I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU ⬇️
— miel (@miel) March 4, 2019
Barstool, a sports and culture blog that’s been described in reports as promoting sexual harassment and a trolling culture, responded by filing a counter-notice, and its in-house lawyer, Mark Marin, offered Bredouw a $US50 gift card to Barstool’s online store to retract her complaint.
Over the past three months, as Bredouw detailed on Twitter, the interactions escalated, with Barstool barraging her with hundreds of messages and raising its offer to $US2,000.
“Where Barstool went wrong is that when she refused to respond and it became clear she had no intention of speaking with us we should have ended it,” Barstool’s founder, Dave Portnoy, told Business Insider in an email. “Unfortunately Barstool Sports has idiots in our company much like many other companies and those idiots acted like idiots. I regret our lawyer offering a 50 dollar gift card to our store not because it’s illegal in any manner but it’s just so moronic and makes us look like arseholes. That’s why lawyers should not be on social media.”
Bredouw apparently doesn’t plan to fight the counter-notice. But the case illustrates the way Twitter’s policy for handling copyright claims filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act puts the burden on creators.
When Barstool filed its counter-notice, Twitter notified Bredouw that the video would go back online unless she got a court order.
Twitter’s policy says: “If we do not receive notice within 10 business days that the original reporter is seeking a court order to prevent further infringement of the material at issue, we may replace or cease disabling access to the material that was removed.” Twitter did not comment beyond pointing to its copyright policy.
From Barstool’s perspective, the policy doesn’t work that well for them, either. Portnoy said Barstool filed the counterclaim to avoid Twitter shutting down the site’s account, which he said happens after six claims are filed against it. He said as far as he knew, the video was removed.
“Rightly or wrongly it puts the person who filed the DCMA in a bad spot to legally defend they own it. We have the opportunity to prove we didn’t intentionally steal it,” he wrote. “It’s a ton of work and effort over a very minor thing.”
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