Comedian’s battle with Barstool Sports reveals Twitter’s copyright issues
A comedian is battling with Barstool Sports over alleged stolen content.
A comedian is battling with Barstool Sports over alleged stolen content.

Image: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

2016%252f09%252f16%252fe7%252fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzex.0f9e7.jpg%252f90x90By Johnny Lieu

Writer and comedian Miel Bredouw has dealt with her content being stolen on the internet many, many times before.

But it was much more of an ordeal when it involved Barstool Sports, a fratty, sports website extensively criticized for its misogynistic content

SEE ALSO: FuckJerry stole celebrity photos to sell its tequila

As she wrote on Twitter, Bredouw claimed Barstool Sports posted a video of hers without credit back in December 2018. The 36-second video, originally from 2016, features the comedian singing the lyrics of Three Six Mafia’s “Slob On My Knob” to the tune of well-known folk song “Carol of the Bells.”

Bredouw said she asked Barstool Sports for credit, but was ignored. She then filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown, and Twitter took down the video immediately. 

Hours later, representatives from Barstool Sports emailed Bredouw, asking if she could rescind the takedown notice. 

They initially offered her a full credit on the video. She didn’t respond. Then, they offered her a $50 gift card to, of all places, the Barstool Sports online store. 

Bredouw ignored the emails, joking it was difficult to resist the appeal of merch from a “historically racist and sexist company.”

In December, they reuploaded one of my videos without credit. I asked for credit, was ignored, and filed a DMCA takedown. Twitter quickly took it down and IMMEDIATELY Barstool’s social guy sends me an email. I don’t respond. He emails again in early February. I don’t respond. pic.twitter.com/GYLYOnHFXq

— miel (@miel) March 4, 2019

Bredouw began to receive multiple messages from Barstool Sports representatives across Instagram, email and Twitter to check the company’s messages.

“The DMs went to my ‘other’ folder and I have gotten too many messages since to be able to see them anymore,” she told Mashable.

In these messages, Barstool Sports offered to promote Bredouw’s podcast, Punch Up the Jam. The offer was then upped to $2,000 by the website’s general counsel, Mark Marin.

“Never once has a person, much less a company tried to bribe me to undo my truthful claim,” Bredouw said. 

“Never once has a person, much less a company messaged me from multiple accounts, emailed to multiple emails, messaged to multiple accounts. I have never been harassed like this for removing my own damn video.”

Then the full on harassment begins. I didn’t screenshot all the messages before deleting but across my IG, my twitter, my email, my PODCAST’S INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, AND EMAIL they send me these messages. Hundreds. I block them. They find me again. Still, I don’t respond. pic.twitter.com/bpPEtNupBJ

— miel (@miel) March 4, 2019

Bredouw still didn’t respond, and so Marin submitted a counterclaim to the DMCA takedown notice on behalf of Barstool Sports.

In the notice, Twitter said it would restore the video within 10 business days, unless Bredouw took (expensive) legal action.

In the counterclaim, Marin wrote that Barstool Sports received the video from a user, who claimed they had full rights to the video, and allowed the website to post it.

“Unless @miel elects to engage in a discussion to determine whether we had the rights to post the video, we continue to assert we had the rights to post the content that was removed,” reads the counterclaim.

Then within hours, I get this from Twitter (first pic).

Unless I want to get a COURT ORDER, my video will go back up on their channel. They win. That’s it.

Read their full response below and tell me how this isn’t blatant perjury allowed by @TwitterSupport ‘s lack of support. pic.twitter.com/JDwMNEiJth

— miel (@miel) March 4, 2019

Twitter wouldn’t comment on the dispute to Mashable, instead pointing to its copyright policy, which states multiple copyright strikes can result in one’s account being suspended. Barstool Sports has 1.47 million Twitter followers.

Berdouw said she is “disappointed, but not surprised” by Twitter’s response to the dispute. She intends to seek legal advice. 

Barstool Sports is hardly alone in online media companies accused of stealing content. A campaign to unfollow FuckJerry built up steam last month, after years of pilfering other people’s photos and tweets. It’s an endemic problem, and one that content creators have long battled.

“I’m not interested in their money,” Berdouw said. “I’m only interested in helping establish legal guidelines in digital media to protect creators and people being harassed against multi-million (if not billion) dollar corporations. It’s the wild west out here.”

Mashable has contacted Barstool Sports for comment.

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