Technology

Stolen celebrity images prompt policy change at 4Chan

Jennifer Lawrence Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Stolen pictures of Jennifer Lawrence were among those first shared on the 4Chan website

The website where leaked celebrity nudes first surfaced has moved to comply with US laws on stolen content.

Many of the images were initially shared on the /b/ discussion board of 4Chan which has been notorious for ignoring copyright laws.

4Chan has now said it will enact a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy to let content owners get illegally shared material removed.

It will now remove content after it gets a "bona fide infringement" notice.

'Terminate' access

Before now, image-sharing site 4Chan has largely avoided having to actively police many of its discussions boards because of the frenetic nature of the site itself. An upper limit on the amount of material any board can support means that content often disappeared or "expired" before demands to take it down were filed. On the busiest 4Chan boards, content expires in a matter of hours.

Despite this lack of formal policing, 4Chan has taken steps to find and remove content involving the sexual abuse of children shared on the site.

The furore over the large number of stolen videos and images of celebrities posted to the site have now prompted it to update its policies and comply with the DMCA. 4Chan has also appointed a member of staff to oversee DMCA takedown requests.

As well as taking down illegally-shared content in response to genuine requests, 4Chan said it would also notify the person who posted infringing material that the content had been removed and was subject to a DMCA request.

The policy shift also means that repeat offenders who regularly posted stolen material will have access to 4Chan "terminated".

Although this might have some impact on regular users of the site who maintain an account, it is not clear what effect the policy change will have on the many others who post material anonymously and supply no identifying information.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites