Twitter has a bit of a theft issue.
People have been stealing tweets and jokes on the platform for years, and it seems that more people are starting to take notice. Twitter is now sending DMCA notices out to accounts that copy and paste another person’s material and claim it as their own.
BREAKING NEWS: Twitter is hiding tweets reported stolen. And it's referring to the author as a "copyright holder" pic.twitter.com/DkteWMZ7zg
— Plagiarism Is Bad (@PlagiarismBad) July 25, 2015
Freelance writer Olga Lexell, who has now protected her account, tweeted a joke that was copied and pasted by several accounts. The Verge was able to snag the content of her tweet before she locked down her account.
saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side
— uh (@runolgarun) July 9, 2015
Lexell did ask Twitter to take down plagiarizing tweets, and the service complied. She confirmed this in a tweet.
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.
What’s most frustrating about all of this is that Twitter has a function to allow accounts to share content. It’s called the retweet. But since some Twitter accounts can become vapid holes just vying for a mass number of followers, it can be more beneficial to just steal content rather than giving someone proper credit. It get worse when Twitter accounts profit from plagiarized tweets.
In a recent episode of podcast The Comedy Button, Brian Altano went on a tirade explaining his ordeal with this issue, reaching out to plagiarizing Twitter accounts asking that he be recognized. To his dismay, many outright dismissed him—including 9GAG—claiming theft was just a byproduct of the Internet.
Start listening around the 28-minute mark. (The podcast contains explicit language.)
Here’s Altano’s tweet, which was copied and pasted:
Now that Twitter is taking stolen tweets seriously, we may finally notice original creators and not their lazy copycats. At the same time, it may just launch a tirade of bogus copyright claims used to silence individuals rather than protect content.