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You might see the above more and more of the above on Twitter, as the social network has begun to honour requests from users who claim their Tweets have been stolen.

The “learn more” link in the withheld Tweets leads to a a page detailing Twitter’s copyright and DMCA policy.

What the page repeats constantly is that it does not offer any legal advice and, if you’re unsure as to your rights in any given situation, you need to consult an attorney.

Basically, anyone who feels they have had their intellectual rights infringed may then follow certain steps to issue a copyright complaint. Following that, Twitter will “make a good faith effort to contact the affected account holder”, who may then issue a counter-notice if they feel they have done nothing wrong.

Ten business days after the counter-notice is submitted, if Twitter does not receive notice that the original filer of the complaint is pursuing further court actions, Twitter “may replace or cease disabling access to the material that was removed.”

And don’t forget Twitter’s top tip about this very complicated matter:

Tip: We cannot offer any legal advice. Should you have questions, please consult an attorney.”

Many claim that this wave of sudden take downs was prompted by a freelance writer from New York, but, while the writer did succeed in having some of the copied Tweets removed, Twitter has not confirmed this to be the reason for the change.

It seems this was put into immediate affect, after Conan O’Brien became the focus of a lawsuit claiming he had stolen Tweets and used them during his show.

This is quite a strange development of “being serious about being silly”. It’s such an absurd concept to try and contain the spread of comedy, when, as Peter Sellers said, repeating jokes and propagating their humour is the entire point of comedy. Well, aside from actually making people smile and laugh. Ahead of its time once again, South Park focused on this very topic all the way back in 2011.

[Sources – The Guardian, Hollywood Reporter]