As long as you haven’t made your Twitter account private, every thought you broadcast can be seen by anyone in the world. However, any words or photos you Tweet, as long as they are original, are yours and, except in specific circumstances, can’t be used without your permission. So what can other people do with your Tweets? Can anyone take your Tweet and publish it on their website?
You Retain Copyright (But That’s Not the Whole Story)
There are two things in play here: copyright law and Twitter’s Terms of Service.
Copyright law is pretty clear: the text of your Tweets is yours. There are some Fair Use arguments, such as newsworthiness or commentary, that would allow someone to copy and paste the text contents of your Tweet and post it elsewhere, but for the most part, they can’t. The ideas in your Tweets, however, aren’t covered by copyright. Only the exact wording. As the New York Times reports, a Hollywood movie studio can take your idea and turn it into a film starring Rihanna.
This is all covered in the Twitter Terms of Service you agreed to when you sign up. You’re meant to read these before you tick the box that says you did, but almost no one does.
For this discussion, here’s the relevant section:
”You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos and videos are part of the Content).
By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all…
I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
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