Copyright a tweet? What?


Disclosure: I’m not a lawyer, I have no background in law. I respect those that do, but my statements below are based purely on my own use of common sense & trust in individuals. If you take issue with my statements, I invite you to comment & add to the discussion.

Call me naive, but why in the hell would you want to copyright a tweet?

I can say more on this, but I think my question is the most important think I could say.


Background: This came up at the Social Media Workshop put on by ASAE on November 5th & 6th, I’m figuring lets just have a conversation about this one via comments.


3 Responses to “Copyright a tweet? What?”

  1. I agree why would you want to copyright a tweet? The question arose from the legal presentation when the attorney essentially said anything anyone puts out there (tweets, blogs, pictures, comments, etc.) could be subject to copyright protection. So taken to the extreme if I retweet someone I may be infringing upon their copyright – since I don’t have their permission. This is where the attorney lost some credibility since he didn’t know what a tweet or retweet was.

    But I think the issue is when will copyright and other intellectual property laws catch up with social media? It started with file sharing (think Napster) and people copying rented videos/dvds. The musicians wanted to be paid for their music (I fully understand that) but I’m not sure the doomsday predictions for the end of the music industry came true.

    It’s hard to reconcile the concept of “free” information on the Internet with the press wanting people to pay for it. Rupert Murdoch wants to scrub all of his media content from Google, the Associated Press wants people to pay for their content and newspapers are scrambling to figure our how to sell their content online. People need to figure out new ways to make money from their knowledge and information. One consultant said the more information she gives away the more business she gets – counterintuitive – but it makes sense. From her writings and presentations you see she knows what she is talking about (someone you want to hire).

    I don’t have the answer, just more questions. Your thoughts?

  2. I am also not a lawyer, but I have to think the 140 character limit will make this moot, because it’s by definition going to be quoting something, which is allowed, right? Also, I think to enforce it you would have to submit all your tweets to the copyright office. That’s what I had to do with the book I published. Though there may be some sort of web exception to that rule. How’d you like to have THAT job at your association!?

  3. Are you serious? Questions like these remind me of my 11 year-old son who asks questions like “how long would it take to pick up a 10 pound of flour, piece by piece, with chop sticks?” The difference is that his questions are entertaining and he’s 11.

    So the lawyer that was speaking at the workshop didn’t know what a tweet was for real?

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