UPDATE: Reddit's press team has confirmed this is an April Fools joke. However, users are still not allowed to post videos, presumably for the next 36 hours or so.
"The reddit admins/employees who deal with DMCA and all other legal requests have not received any requests of this nature for /r/videos," a spokesperson for the site told me.
The moderators of the hugely popular videos subreddit r/videos said Tuesday that it would no longer allow users to submit links to videos on the site.
According to a moderator, ryansoper, the subreddit received a "DMCA mass takedown request," which are copyright infringement notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, relating to more than 150 videos posted on the subreddit. Update: There are no DMCA takedowns, Reddit's press team has confirmed.
"Until further notice, /r/videos will be unable to accept any links to videos. You may however submit a self post describing your video and keywords to search to find it, but you MUST NOT include a link. Links to videos will be removed immediately," ryansoper wrote.
Ryansoper described it as a temporary measure being taken while the moderators sift through the requests in an attempt to determine what videos can remain on the subreddit. At the moment, it's not even allowing videos recorded and posted by its users.
It's March 31, but we have to note that this could be one very obnoxious (and early) April Fools Day joke. Ryansoper said in the post that it is not an April Fools Day joke, but this is the internet. I checked, and the most recent 30 submissions have all been submitted as self posts, as Ryansoper requested. Update: It is an April Fools joke.
"I know the timing of this notice is coincidental, but please be aware, this is not an april fools joke," ryansoper wrote. "We were going to only accept vines as our joke, but seeing as we now have a lot more on our plate, we've decided to skip april fools this year."
So far, the moderators have not said who sent the DMCA takedown requests, but said that the moderating team had been advised to take this option.
Reddit does get copyright takedown requests regularly—in a transparency report posted in January, the company said that 81 percent of the takedown requests it receives are copyright-related. It received 176 copyright takedown requests in 2014 and removed content in 66 cases, a 38 percent rate.
Even if this weren't an April Fools joke, it appears as though the moderators of /r/videos are hoping users don't understand how the DMCA works. Most of the subreddit's links lead to videos hosted elsewhere (such as YouTube)—generally, the copyright holder would file a DMCA with YouTube and Google in this instance, not with Reddit.
"A significant percentage of the copyright takedown requests we received were for user- submitted URLs that link to content hosted on other websites," the Reddit admins wrote in the transparency report. "Because links do not generally infringe copyright, we exercise extra scrutiny in assessing takedowns for links."