On blocking Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shashi Tharoor’s accounts, Twitter’s detailed explanation

 Days after the government sought a written explanation from Twitter on why Union Information and Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s handle was temporarily blocked, the social media platform cited ‘copyright infringement’ under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as the reason.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology had earlier asked Twitter to explain in writing on what ground it locked the accounts of Prasad and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Last month, Twitter had restricted access to Prasad’s account ‘@rsprasad’ for almost an hour on the grounds that he violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the minister said the microblogging platform violated new IT rules that require intermediary or a host of user content to give prior notice before locking access.

Soon after Prasad flagged the issue, Tharoor tweeted that he too had faced something similar. “Raviji, the same thing just happened to me. Clearly DMCA is getting hyperactive. This tweet has been deleted by @Twitter because its video includes the copyrighted BoneyM song ‘Rasputin’,” Tharoor tweeted.

Later, Prasad said that if the microblogging site invoked a US copyright rule to justify its action, then it should also abide by India’s new IT rules while operating in the country.

Speaking at the India Global Forum, Prasad had said, “If you are going to invoke the… digital copyright act of America then you have to also be cognisant of the copyright rules of India. That is the point. You cannot say my whole stand will be regulated by an ex-parte assessment of the US law. For a happy blending of the role of big tech and democracy, a solution has to be found.”

In a written explanation, Twitter said: “Twitter received DMCA notices from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) alleging that video Tweets posted on their (Prasad and Tharoor) accounts infringed copyrighted works owned by Sony Music Entertainment. For Mr. Prasad, the DMCA notice was in reference to the original work (i.e. alleged infringement) of A.R. Rahman’s: Maa Tujhe Salaam… For Dr, Tharoor, the DMCA notice was in reference to the original work (i.e. alleged infringement) of Boney M. -Rasputin.”


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