Copyright and the intellectual property is poorly understood when it comes to social media (Courtney, 2014). In this regard, the social media users have a lax attitude towards the intellectual property rights in relation to sharing, borrowing, and posting in the name of exposure. Intellectual property rights on Twitter are the least understood since it is primarily used as a means of re-posting the content to the users.
In their terms and conditions, Twitter states irrevocably that your profile and materials remains yours. This implies that there exists some intellectual property to own in the Tweets, but the company does not own them. Therefore, it is possible to own copyrighted material on Twitter. If the material posted on the twitter is not copyrightable, it will not be a protected property by merely being tweeted (Storella, 2014). Therefore, the protection of material on the Tweeter depends on the nature of the Tweet.
The general rule is that the copyright and the intellectual property rights value originality and creativity (Bijle, 2013). In this regard, the mere recitation of a fact is not copyrightable and cannot be intellectually protected. In most cases, the individual tweets are common words and phrases that cannot be protected by the intellectual property rights.
Therefore, the rights of the average user of a Tweet depend on the nature of its Tweet. He is the owner of the tweet, but the protection under the intellectual property right will depend on the originality and the creativity of the tweet (Tiffany, 2013). The business users also own their tweets, but their protection under the intellectual property rights depends on the nature of the tweet. Any tweet that is not copyrighted can easily be redistributed without violating the intellectual property rights.
Bijle, M.N. (2013). Intellectual property rights. The journal of contemporary dental practice, 14 (1) 1-2
Courtney, M. (2014). Keep your friends close: a framework for addressing rights to social media. Vanderbilt Law Review, Volume 67, Issue 5, p. 1459
Storella, A. (2014). IT’S SELFIE-EVIDENT: SPECTRUMS OF ALIENABILITY AND COPYRIGHTED CONTENT. Boston University Law Review, Volume 94, Issue 6, p. 2045
Tiffany, M. (2013). Access denied: how social media accounts fall outside the scope of intellectual. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Volume 23, Issue 3, p. 1017