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A celebrity photo lawsuit claims Twitter’s copyright process is broken

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

As Twitter slashes staff and pares back moderation under Elon Musk, it may soon run into a problem it can’t ignore: its potential liability for copyright infringement. TorrentFreak reported last week that the company faces a lawsuit by celebrity photo agency Backgrid. Backgrid says that Twitter systematically failed to take down unauthorized copies of its pictures, arguing it shouldn’t be protected by American safe harbor laws for copyright. The allegations leave plenty of questions unanswered, but claims like them could pose a problem for Musk’s increasingly bare-bones operation.

Backgrid’s claims predate Musk’s ownership of Twitter, dating to at least September 2021. The complaint, filed in a California court in late December, alleges…

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