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NFL says it didn’t request suspension of Twitter accounts over copyright violations

Hours before the NFL found itself in the middle of a controversy regarding clock operation, the NFL found itself in the middle of a controversy regarding the operation of certain Twitter accounts.

The popular account for the website was suspended temporarily by Twitter based on complaints filed by the NFL under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The league contends that it did not request that any accounts be suspended.

“The NFL sent routine notices as part of its copyright enforcement program requesting that Twitter disable links to more than a dozen pirated NFL game videos and highlights that violate the NFL’s copyrights,” the league said in a statement forwarded to PFT and other media outlets. “We did not request that any Twitter account be suspended.”

The NFL also forwarded a copy of the notice sent to Twitter. It makes no mention of suspension of the offending accounts. Per the NFL, Twitter received similar notices from other sports leagues and conferences, including UFC and the Big 12.

Still, Twitter’s zeal may be related to its content and advertising deal with the NFL.

At the heart of the fight is whether copyright laws permit short video clips, known as GIFs, to be disseminated under the “fair use” concept. The NFL, which zealously protects its intellectual property rights (indeed, if those rights are not actively enforced, they can at some point be forfeited), believes that the republication of any portion of game footage violates copyright laws.