Funny tweets are now copyright protected, Twitter deleting copies

27 Jul 2015

Things are getting serious at Twitter when it comes to humour as it has been discovered that the micro-blogging site is deleting copies of funny tweets on copyright grounds.

For people like comedians or humour writers, funny tweets are as much a part of their daily job as a business tweeting out offers to customers.

For this reason, it appears that now Twitter is defending the curators of jokes, according to the Twitter handle @PlagarismBad, which comes to the defence of victims of plagiarism, particularly on Twitter.

From its discovery, it now appears that anyone who is found copying another person’s tweet without accrediting it to them will see their tweet deleted and replaced with a message saying: “This tweet from [Twitter handle] has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder.”

Speaking to The Verge, one person who enacted her right to copyright protection was freelance writer Olga Lexell, whose tweet was copied five times without accreditation and was subsequently deleted.

According to the writer, her tweets were being copied on a regular basis and this was harming her career.

“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 has said of the copyright infringements. “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.”

The deleting of text-based tweets is a particularly new trend given that, until now, Twitter’s web portal for reporting copyright infringement has largely been used by companies and media producers asking that visual or audio material posted on the site be taken down, but now it appears the definition of copyright on Twitter has been changed somewhat with this new policy.

Copyright image via Dennis Skley/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic