Parts of Twitter source codes were leaked and published on GitHub. Twitter asked court to issue subpoena to compel GitHub to reveal "all identifying information" of the user who published it. However, Twitter also asked for "all identifying information, ... , for the users who posted, uploaded, downloaded or modified the data". The court granted their request and issued the subpoena.

On what legal grounds can Twitter demand information about users who just downloaded it?

1 Answer 1


The legal ground is to identify infringers of their copyright. Copyright law prohibits unauthorized copying, and Twitter alleges that there was unauthorized copying, which included downloading. They have a legal right to file legal actions against any and all infringers, and the subpoena process is a means of determining the true identity of the alleged infringers (since real identities are needed to sue them).

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    Obviously they can’t force GitHub to actually have the information. And the leaker would have been stupid to give it to Twitter. So GitHub might say “the leaker told us his email was [email protected]” as long as that is indeed what the leaker told them.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 1 at 12:20
  • If the code is on GitHub, and if parts of code like this are typically open source, why is downloading it (believing it is not-infringing) itself an infringement? To me this seems like illegally parking in a parking spot which would normally be a valid parking spot, but for which someone had removed the "no parking" sign. I.e. there's not a reasonable way for that driver to know that it was not a legal parking spot.
    – Brandin
    Apr 18 at 10:22

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