Twagiarism; Jokes hidden on Twitter

BREAKING NEWS: Twitter is hiding tweets reported stolen. And it’s referring to the author as a ‘copyright holder’

The tweet was made on Saturday 25 July 2015 by @PlagiarismBad in reference to copyright infringement over Twitter. @PlagiarismBad detected five lifted tweets that plagiarised a joke referring to ‘juice cleansing’ composed by writer and comedian Olga Lexell (@runolgarun), who reported the lifted tweets to Twitter.

Twitter’s Copyright and Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy will replace a deleted image or tweet with the following words, rather than simply delete a tweet as was the case previously:

This Tweet from @Username has been withheld [or, This image has been removed] in response to a report from the copyright holder.”

Being very careful not to post without attribution the term twagiarism is defined by the Macmillan dictionary as ‘using somebody else’s words as if they were your own on Twitter’.

Lexell hit out at the blatant twagiarism of her ‘juice cleansing’ joke, tweeting:

“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). 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.”

Under Twitter’s own Copyright and DMCA FAQ page, Twitter has publicly stated that they will respond to complaints that meet the following threshold:

“Twitter will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, such as allegations concerning the unauthorised use of a copyrighted image as a profile photo, header photo, or background, allegations concerning the unauthorised use of a copyrighted video or image uploaded through our media hosting services, or tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials.”

My advice is always to attribute the work of others as you would do with academic literature for example. Twitter has through its relatively short existence developed the means by which Tweeters can easily attribute the work of others:

RT = The tweet will simply appear in your own followers’ timeline in its original form.

MT = If you wish to modify the tweet in any way, shortening it for example as you strive to stay within the 140 character limit, simply write MT or “Modified Tweet”.

Other Content = reference the original author’s Twitter handle or use a direct link to their work.

If you are in any doubt as to what will constitute copyright infringement across Twitter or any other form of social media then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ailsa Pemberton

Ailsa Pemberton

Ailsa Pemberton
Intellectual Property Department      
0113 207 0000



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