One of Two Sports Accounts Suspended by Twitter Still Down

by Alex Johnson /  / Updated 
IMAGE: Twitter
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Sports-news website SBNation's popular @SBNationGIF Twitter account remained unavailable Tuesday night, more than 24 hours after it was suspended in a copyright dispute with several sports organizations.

Twitter suspended @SBNationGIF and the main account of sports site Deadspin on Monday after it received almost two dozen "takedown" notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the National Football League and a third-party rights-management representative for the Big 12 and Southeastern collegiate sports conferences and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Related: Twitter Suspends Deadspin, SBNation Accounts Over Copyright

@Deadspin was restored after a few hours — which it announced with a tweet linking to a story mocking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Vox Media, SBNation's owner, said Tuesday it was still "working with Twitter to resolve the issue and restore" @SBNationGIF, which specialized in tweeting animated GIF files taken from broadcasts and streams of live sporting events.

Twitter declined to comment on the suspensions, but it made the takedown notices available to NBC News and CNBC about two hours before it released them publicly Monday night and then posted them on Chilling Effects, a nonprofit project to publicize legal attempts to restrict online speech.

IMAGE: Ultimate Fighting Championship complaint against Deadspin
Ultimate Fighting Championship's copyright complaint demanded that Twitter 'terminate' Deadspin's account within 10 minutes.Twitter

Only the UFC made a specific request that Twitter delete an allegedly offending account, giving the company 10 minutes to comply with its demand that it disable @SBNationGIF.

The NFL, which targeted @Deadspin, and the Big 12 and the SEC, which also targeted @SBNationGIF, made only general requests to delete tweets that they alleged infringed upon their copyright protections.

The NFL and Twitter have a formal partnership to publish game highlights on the social media site. But the NFL was quick to say in a statement Monday night that it hadn't asked that @Deadspin's account be suspended.

The UFC, however, was more aggressive, saying in an email Tuesday that it "applauds Twitter for its commitment to protect content owners' property rights" after the social media site suspended @SBNationGif.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the UFC, said the organization "actively works with media outlets and social media sites" to protect itself against "unauthorized UFC content."

"The organization makes usage guidelines available to all outlets who wish to use UFC GIFs and video content," he said.

The suspensions set off an avalanche of debate among media and tech figures on an otherwise quiet Columbus Day holiday, with many arguing whether the two accounts' tweets of brief GIFs and Vine clips met the test for fair use under federal copyright law.

Former ESPN, MSNBC and Fox Sports Net anchor Keith Olbermann briefly even used his own Twitter account to post material on behalf of Deadspin:

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