As Twitter continues to engage the attention of microbloggers and media outlets alike, we may need to more carefully consider who owns the ideas being shared 140 or fewer characters at a time. The fact that Twitter has a built-in mechanism for filing copyright claims, underscores the reality that the Twitterverse exists in both the virual world and the real world.
The Law and Public Communication
According to The Independent, last week saw Courtney Love charged with libel, for comments made on Twitter. If short messages can get you into this kind of legal trouble, maybe the unauthorized use of tweets will one day lead to copyright claims? Yesterday's "Are Tweets Copyrighted" post by Mark Cuban has resulted in a number of comments, all considering the potential for such litigation.
Your Tweets are Public; are they Quoteable?
With media outlets now quoting the Twitterati, it may be time to consider licensing our tweets for such use. Will the reference of one's Twitter ID within a stream of scrolling tweets be enough to satisfy your attribution requirements?
Following Will Richardson's micro-response, I'd like to suggest that it might be worth taking the extra step of formally licensing your Tweets. As one who encourages students and teachers alike, to license their creative work, I've recently applied Creative Commons licensing directly to my Twitter page.
How Should We Behave?
The use of the retweet (RT) or partial retweet (PRT) is one more way that we can reference the origins the ideas in our posts. These few characters of attribution are one step in demonstrating a respect for copyright.
Is Copyright being Reconsidered by Twitter?