4Chan, the site that has gained particular notoriety this week on account of it being the original host of the anonymously posted celebrity nude selfies, has taken action.
For the first time on its eleven year history, the site has posted a statement about its willingness to comply with US law on stolen content. Its updated policies will now comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow content owners to get illegally shared material removed. 4Chan has also appointed a member of staff especially to respond to claims of copyright-infringed content posted on its site. It will remove content once it gets a "bona fide infringement" notice. You can read 4Chan’s notice here.
These steps were clearly taken in reaction to the violent media storm surrounding the publishing of the stolen pictures, in which 4Chan’s policies have been heavily criticised. Before now, the image-sharing website has avoided having to moderate its discussion boards due to the ephemerality of the site. On each discussion board there is an upward limit on pages of content, so new content pushes out old content, and it gets automatically deleted. The content on many popular discussion boards could be deleted in a matter of hours, the turnover is so high.
Now there will be a protocol for copyright holders to send a DMCA removal notice to 4Chan’s administrators. The notice will alert the administrators to material that has been uploaded and infringed on copyright. 4Chan can then contact the user who has uploaded the material to tell them that they will be subject to legal action if they do not take the material down. Only time will tell whether their new policing system will work.
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