Twitter Copyright Infringement


Twitter Copyright Infringement

Twitter copyright infringement is increasing every year.  Founded in 2006, Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms. It boasts a user base of over 300 million users.

Unfortunately, Twitter and other social media platforms provide a medium in which individuals or businesses can earn a profit by infringing the work of others. Photographs, news stories, images, video, music and more can easily be used and disseminated by others. When original works of authorship are used without permission, it is likely to be copyright infringement.

Twitter and the Use of Copyrighted Materials Without the Consent

A person or business who tweets your artwork, photograph, story, report, or other intellectual property, or who otherwise disseminates these things without your permission and without proper attribution, may not intend to cause you any financial or other harm. Despite a lack of such intentions, however, dissemination of your work infringes your rights.

Photographs and images taken by others are not the only things that are subjected to copyright protections. Recall that, according to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright protects original works of authorship including any type of artistic work.  This would include works that are reduced to writing, including novels, works of nonfiction, news articles and reports, poetry, screenplays, and scripts (to name just a few).

If a Twitter user tweets a news story, a short story, or other work without your permission, you may be the victim of copyright infringement. This is especially likely to be true if the person who is utilizing your literary or other similar work without attributing the work to you and instead attempting to pass off the work as his or her own. This can cause severe harm to you, your career, your business, and your brand.

What is Copyright Infringement?

 Copyright infringement occurs when some person or entity uses, disseminates, or utilizes your original work of authorship in some manner without your authorization.  The following are just a few examples of the ways in which a copyright can be infringed:

  • Someone purchases your book, song or video and distributes it or publishes it without your permission;
  • Someone uses a creative work of yours and then creates a derivative work. For example, if you create a work of fiction and then someone makes a video based upon your book without your permission, infringement has likely occurred; and
  • Someone takes a creative work of yours and passes it off as his or her own.

While someone can commit copyright infringement even if he or she does not receive any sort of financial gain from doing so, infringement is only committed when there is access to the original work and substantial similarity exist.  For example, if you and another person both separately create text about a similar story, but neither one of you had any way of accessing the notes of the other, then a case for copyright infringement would be difficult to prove. In addition, copyrights that have been in existence for the life of the author plus 70 years will generally lapse.  In such as case, the work becomes part of the public domain and is free for others to use.

A successful copyright lawsuit can result in the owner of the infringed-upon copyright receiving damages from the person or entity that infringed upon the work.  If the infringement ocurrs after the work is registered with the Copyright Office, then statutory damages and attorneys fees are also available.

In addition, in a successful case the court will almost always issue a copyright injunction requiring the offender to cease and desist from the behavior that is infringing upon the owner’s rights. This injunction could be expanded to any intermediaries that the infringer might try to use to further infringe upon the rights of the owner. For instance, a person who uses a copyrighted image and disseminates it on Twitter may not only receive an injunction preventing him or her from continuing to disseminate the image, but Twitter too can be ordered to cease displaying the image.

Cease and Desist letter

If someone has infringed your copyright on Twitter, we suggest that you have us send a copyright cease and desist letter.  This will put the infringer on notice that you take your rights seriously and will likely not only bring a prompt resolution of the matter but may also stop future infringements before they start.

If you have received a twitter cease and desist letter, please see our copyright cease and desist letter page or feel free to contact us.

Reporting Twitter Copyright Infringement

Twitter as well as most other major social media platforms have policies that restrict a user’s ability to disseminate copyrighted material or other intellectual property that does not belong to them. When you see that your material is being used without your consent on Twitter, a complaint can be made directly to Twitter. The service will investigate the matter and may remove the content from the infringer’s profile or feed.

A report to Twitter requires the following information:

  1. Your signature (either a physical signature or an electronic signature) or the signature of the copyright holder, if it is someone other than yourself but you are authorized to act on their behalf;
  2. Information about the infringed-upon creative work. You will need to identify the work by providing a link, scanned image, or something else that allows Twitter to clearly identify the original work.
  3. Information about where the work has been infringed. Again, the description needs to be specific so that Twitter has enough information to locate where your creative work is being infringed. If you specifically describe the creative work and identify the user who infringed upon your copyright and the date the infringement occurred, Twitter should be able to find the material and investigate your complaint.
  4. Your contact information so that Twitter can reach you if additional information is needed or if they need to communicate with you about your claim. Your address, phone number, and e-mail address are all necessary.
  5. You must also provide statements that: (a) you have a good faith belief that the way in which the other user has used the copyrighted material is in violation of your rights. This would require you to consider whether there is any exception, such as the fair use exception, that would permit the user to display or disseminate the material even if you did not consent to it; and (b) the information you are submitting regarding your copyright infringement claim is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and that you are attesting to the truthfulness of your statements under the penalty of perjury.

These requirements are meant to deter individuals from filing false or frivolous infringement claims with the sole purpose of interfering with another person’s business or personal use of Twitter. If it is later shown that you filed a false or frivolous claim of copyright infringement with Twitter, there will be legal repercussions.  As such, we highly recommend that you only have a copyright lawyer handle infringement matters on your behalf.

Contact Us

If you believe that you have been a victim of Twitter copyright infringement, or if such an infringement has been alleged against you, please contact us today.

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