Twitter Law: Are Tweets Copyrighted?
Mark Cuban wonders, “Is a tweet copyrightable ? Is a tweet copyrighted by default when its published ? Can there possibly be a fair use exception for something that is only 140 characters or less ?”
I got to thinking about this when I tweeted about an NBA game. I tweeted to the people who follow me. While I never asked that they not distribute it to other tweeters, i did not give anyone permission to republish my tweets in a commercial newspaper, magazine or website.
So when an ESPN.com or any other outlet republishes a tweet, have they violated copyright law ?
Is twittering the process of publishing in 140 characters or less, or is it a private communications to those that follow you ? Even if you dont block outsiders from seeing it ?
As best I can figure:
- Yes, tweets — like any other writing — is automatically copyrighted.
- Yes, there can be fair use of tweets.
What say you?