Twitter has filed a petition in federal court in San Francisco asking the court clerk to issue a subpoena that would help the company learn the identity of the person alleged to have publicly released parts of Twitter’s source code in violation of the U.S. Copyright law.
The alleged infringer, known to Twitter only by the name FreeSpeechEnthusiast, is alleged to have posted the intellectual property to GitHub, a popular website where software developers share code.
The subpoena would compel GitHub to produce documents that identify the alleged infringer’s name, address, telephone number, email, and “social media profile data.”
Twitter is requesting the same information for any GitHub user who “posted, uploaded, downloaded or modified” the data posted to FreeSpeechEnthusiast’s repository at GitHub. A repository is an online space where data may be posted and made accessible to other users.
The repository was disabled Friday after Twitter’s general counsel, Julian Moore, sent GitHub a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act stating that the post contained “proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.”
Neither the amount of code nor the purpose of the poster is stated in the court filing, though the user name has fueled speculation — much of it on the Twitter platform — that the release tips its hat to platform owner Elon Musk’s self-avowed stance as a “free speech absolutist.”
A policy statement on Twitter’s website says that regulators of the Internet face crucial decisions that will affect the “the survival of a global, free, secure and Open Internet…,” which Twitter believes should be “built on open standards and the protection of human rights.”
The proposed subpoena requires the documents to be produced April 3 at the offices of Twitter’s outside counsel.