Tumblr triggers new anti-piracy takedowns

tumblr logo 02Yahoo-owned Tumblr, one of the biggest content sites in the world, is experiencing a furor among its bloggers who post music. Several tumblr blogs have reportedly been switched off for copyright-infringing music posts. The website TorrentFreak, which covers file-sharing and media piracy news, calls the situation a Tumblr “panic.”

Part of the upset among Tumblr bloggers is due to an apparently automated functionality that identifies copyrighted music, and unplugs any blog which is found to have infringed three times. Some bloggers reportedly didn’t know they had done anything wrong until they found themselves locked out of their blogging dashboards. Errors are also reported, where wholly-owned music is misidentified as infringing.

At the start of this month Tumblr installed a download button which can be used for posted music. The timing coincidence is noted by Tumblr users — offering an infringing piece of music available for copying by a site visitor could make a copyright infraction more serious. Speculation is swirling that in exchange for that button (which is handy and advantageous for people distributing their own music) Yahoo/Tumblr gave policing and takedown power to an outside agency, possibly the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI).

An unofficial user-generated FAQ of the situation was posted by actor Tom Hiddleston. Nothing in that document is confirmed; Hiddleston writes from the perspective of having lost his first Tumblr account in December.

Tumblr hosts over 200-million user-generated blogs, and more than 100-billion posts.

Brad Hill