The internet and social media have really managed to complicate copyright law, which was already complicated to begin with. On one hand, many people view social media posts (Facebook posts, tweets, etc.) as ephemeral. We share a joke or a quick observation with little regard for who may share it again without our permission.
On the other hand, some writers and entertainers consider the things they share on social media to be carefully crafted intellectual property. As such, they want due credit and any monetary rewards their work may generate.
Twitter, which epitomizes brevity on social media, has previously faced legal questions about whether or not tweets can be considered intellectual property. Recently, a freelance writer from Los Angeles raised the issue again and provided an argument for why Twitter should delete content that was re-used by other users without being properly attributed to her.
In an interview, writer Olga Lexell said: "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."
To be sure, Twitter is not the only social media site facing criticism for potential copyright violations. But as social media becomes even more prevalent and becomes a platform for even more content, questions about copyright protection and intellectual property will only become more pressing.
Whether you work in social media, tech or any other field, you may have questions about how and when your work can be used by others. If you need help with an issue of copyright protection, patenting or any other intellectual property-related legal issue, please discuss your concerns with an experienced business law attorney.