Yes, Your Plagiarized Twitter Joke Can Be Deleted On Copyright Grounds

Sometimes reading through Twitter feeds can be like hanging out with that guy in the office who is constantly cracking other folks’ jokes and acting as if he’d dreamt them up on the spot. The big difference is that the office hack won’t have his wisecracks muted for violating the writer’s copyright.

The Verge points to this Tweet from over the weekend from the @plagiarismisbad account, indicating that a bunch of accounts were having their Tweets deleted over alleged copyright infringement:

Yup, it’s a not-that-well-known fact that Twitter receives and processes Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims just like YouTube, and Google, and countless other online sites and services. The thing is that people are so used to seeing Tweets shared, seemingly ad infinitum, to the point where the source can be difficult to locate.

The 140 character limit on Tweets also means most copyright holders aren’t going to get terribly upset if you claim their social media musings as your own. It’s one thing to try to pretend you wrote a clever, one-line quip about a TV personality; it’s another to pretend that you wrote an entire song, book, movie, etc.

But the fact that lots of people ignore ownership of Twitter content doesn’t mean ownership is nonexistent.

The writer whose Twitter joke had been reposted by these accounts without attribution defended her decision to have the copycat posts deleted.

“I simply explained to Twitter that as a freelance writer I make my living writing jokes (and I use some of my tweets to test out jokes in my other writing),” she wrote on her private Twitter account. “I then explained that as such, the jokes are my intellectual property, and that the users in question did not have my permission to repost them without giving me credit.”

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