Twitter is cracking down on users who tweet stolen jokes passed off as their own. The microblogging site will treat any DMCA complaints about a plagiarized funny tweet in the same way that it treats other copyright infringement requests.
Twitter user @PlagiarismBad was first to notice that at least five tweets had been deleted by Twitter for copying a joke originally posted by writer Olga Lexell.
The LA-based freelancer subsequently stated that she did file a request to have the jokes removed. "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.", Lexell said in a series of tweets.
Lexell told The Verge that she's filed similar requests for other jokes, and that Twitter staffers typically remove the offending tweets "within a few days" without asking any follow-up questions. She added that most of the accounts that were reusing her tweets without accreditation were "spam accounts that repost tons of other people's jokes every day."
Anyone can submit a claim through Twitter's web form, and if it decides to follow through with the request, the company can remove or delete the offending tweets. Twitter's policy gives the alleged offender 10 days to file a counter notice, and it publishes all complaints to research project Chilling Effects.
Twitter received more than 25,000 Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices last year, though the majority of these were related to multimedia content such as photos, videos and links to copyrighted material. Twitter makes this information publicly available to discourage companies from attempting to block negative publicity they may receive.
A Twitter spokesperson said the site would not comment on individual accounts and pointed to the company's general copyright policy.