In a recent Twitter thread, comedian Miel Bredouw recounted some shady behavior by Barstool Sports’ legal team. In fact, even Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy isn’t trying to defend it, and instead reportedly described it as “moronic,” admitting it, “makes us look like assholes.”
According to Bredouw (who backed up her account with screenshots of key correspondence), Barstool Sports uploaded one of her videos — a performance of “Slob on my Knob” set to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” — without attribution. When her request for credit was ignored, she filed a DMCA complaint, and the video was taken down.
However, she said various members of the Barstool team then began contacting her asking her to retract the complaint. They offered her a $50 gift card to Barstool’s online store, which was eventually upped to an offer of a $500 payment, and then $2,000 — the last one made in an email from the company’s general counsel Mark Marin.
What was going on? Bredouw theorized, “If they get too many DMCA copyright strikes, Twitter has to legally delete their account. I believe they get six. How much you want to bet mine was their fifth?”
Barstool founder Dave Portnoy seemed to confirm this in an email to Business Insider, where he said Barstool filed had to file a counter-notice in order to avoid getting shut down on Twitter.
“Unfortunately Barstool Sports has idiots in our company much like many other companies and those idiots acted like idiots,” Portnoy said. “I regret our lawyer offering a 50 dollar gift card to our store not because it’s illegal in any manner but it’s just so moronic and makes us look like assholes. That’s why lawyers should not be on social media.”
Speaking of the counter-notice — Twitter has apparently told Bredouw that as a result, she needs to file for a court order, or the company will “cease disabling access to the materials within 10 business days.”
When asked for comment, a Twitter spokesperson just pointed to the site’s copyright policy, which says that accounts facing copyright takedowns can file a counter-notice “if you believe that materials reported in the copyright complaints were misidentified or removed in error.” When that happens, Twitter says:
If the copyright owner disagrees that the content was removed in error or misidentification, they may pursue legal action against you. If we do not receive notice within 10 business days that the original reporter is seeking a court order to prevent further infringement of the material at issue, we may replace or cease disabling access to the material that was removed.
We’ve also reached out to Barstool Sports for comment and will update if we hear back.