The “Times Is On It” Twitter account, which parodies New York Times stories, announced on Facebook that its account had been suspended after the newspaper complained. The account was named one of Time magazine’s “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2012.” Benjamin Kabak has identified himself as the writer behind @nytonit. “I’m zero percent interested in picking a fight with the Times on this,” Kabak told Poynter by phone. Kabak, a lawyer, also blogs at 2nd Avenue Sagas.
Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy confirms the complaint:
We did file a complaint with Twitter and it is our understanding that they have suspended this account for a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. We’re not seeking to disable the account however it is important to The Times that our copyright is protected and that it is clear to all users of Twitter that parody accounts or other unofficial Times accounts are not affiliated nor endorsed by The Times.
In a subsequent email, Murphy wrote she should have said the Times was protecting its trademark — not its copyright. When I asked why the Times moved on this issue now, she said, “The timing is really Twitter’s. We made our complaint known to them a while ago.”
Kabak says he has filed an appeal. And that appeal was successful a few hours later. Kabak says on Facebook:
Twitter has reenabled my account with the threat that if they receive another complaint, it could be subject to “permanent deletion.” So in the interest of avoiding that fate, let’s open up the floor to a little design contest. I’d love to see some avatar submissions that I could use and not annoy anyone. The winner will get a hat tip on the Twitter feed. (Small beans, I know.) Email entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, on Twitter, fans reacted: