NFL, NCAA And UFC Go After Deadspin And SBNation Over Tweeted Vines And GIFs


One of my favorite ways to consume the best parts of sportsball is in animated GIFs and 6-second Vines. I only want to see that big block or that sweet catch, not the crap before and after it.

The NFL seems to agree and probably wants to be the only place you can get those GIFs or Vines, because according to numerous reports, the Twitter accounts of two prominent sports publications have been shut down over sharing NFL-owned content via said means.

UPDATE: Deadspin’s account is back (@SBNationGif is still suspended) and the NFL has issued a statement saying that they reported content, but did not request that any particular accounts be shut down:

A spokesperson from SBNation provided us with this statement:

SB Nation received an email from Twitter notifying us that the @SBNationGIF account had been suspended, due to a DMCA notice Twitter received related to several gifs and vines sent from the @SBNationGIF account, which contained content from college football game broadcasts. The DMCA notice came from XOS Digital, a third party rights organization. We are working with Twitter to resolve the issue and restore the account. All other SB Nation accounts are in good standing. We take copyright infringement issues seriously and always try to keep our use of unlicensed third party footage within the bounds of fair use.

We’ve seen the DMCA requests, which Twitter makes public on the site when it acts on them as normal practice. There were notices from the NFL, as well as the NCAA and UFC. We couldn’t review the content because well…it’s been taken down, naturally.

Here are the requests for your perusing pleasure:


A source has indicated to us that it was the NFL who reported these accounts, which has a deep media relationship with Twitter.

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The accounts, @Deadspin and @SBNationGif, seemingly vanished, and the rumors as to why are swirling. Some thought it had to do with MLB, while a Gawker employee stated it was the NFL:

Reporters at Politico and The Hollywood Reporter seem to confirm this:

Deadspin is directing its readers to join them on Facebook while they sort things out.

This would be a larger story if true, as the world of GIFs has mostly gone interrupted with platforms like Tumblr making a living on hosting them and companies like Giphy letting people share them on any platform they like. Of course the content has to come from somewhere, and these sites don’t have the rights for it.

Vines are very similar to a GIF as it’s a very short and focused clip. The format is owned by Twitter. Fans like the formats, so ridding the Internet of them by going after popular Twitter accounts won’t make the NFL very popular.

We’ve reached out to Twitter, Deadspin, SBNation and the NFL for comment.