A deep-dive from the Daily Beast alleges that content laundering has played a key role in Barstool Sports’ massive growth, and the article lays out how the media company did it.
The Daily Beast claims to have done an investigation that found over 40 anonymous Twitter accounts “that give every indication of being controlled by Barstool.”
“This network has laundered incalculable amounts of copyright-protected sports and entertainment videos and reaped billions of views over at least the last four years,” the article continues.
But what do anonymous Twitter accounts have to do with Barstool content laundering?
Well, according to the Daily Beast, Barstool uses the anonymous Twitter accounts to rip and post copyrighted material. Once the small accounts have posted the material, Barstool then embeds the post and shares it with an official Barstool account.
When the use of the copyrighted material is discovered, it is the account that first posted it without permission that gets the copyright strike. So, that’s the small, anonymous Twitter account, not an official Barstool account, Daily Beast explains.
And when an account gets enough strikes, it’s suspended or banned. But that means little to Barstool because that penalty isn’t imposed on its official accounts, and by that time, the media company has already gotten tons of engagement on the reposted content and those metrics can be presented to advertising partners, according to the Daily Beast.
“Taken as a whole, Barstool has built out an apparent system of organized copyright infringement,” the Daily Beast article states.
One piece of evidence that the Daily Beast uses to back up its claim is that the email addresses for the Twitter accounts that do the dirty work were allegedly associated with the barstoolsports.com domain.
This is not the first time that Barstool had its wagon hitched to a copyright issue. According to Business Insider, the media company a copyright lawsuit filed for photographer Brigitte Stelzer in 2018 laid out how Barstool Sports faced lawsuits over copyright infringement 11 times between 2016 and 2018 and settled each of the cases.
Then, in 2019, Barstool spliced a GIF of a fuzzy blue monster on Snapchat then later acknowledged it had published stolen intellectual property, Business Insider also noted.