CAN TWEETS ON THE TWITTER BE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED ?

CAN TWEETS ON THE TWITTER BE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED ?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, which obliged the whole world community to carry out social distancing, the use of social media can certainly be a solution to still be able to interact with others. One of the social media that is quite attractive to the public is Twitter. Twitter is a free social media service that allows users to send and receive mostly tweets, otherwise known as tweets. Tweets are limited to 280 characters in size, displayed on the author’s Twitter profile page, and forwarded to “followers” and can even be searched on Twitter searches.

On Twitter, users can share posts with pictures, videos, and of course tweets. The tweets of this twitter user also varied in order to answer the questions in the text box, namely “What did you do?” then Twitter users are free to express, tell stories, express opinions, share comedy and even share rhymes or poetry and words of wisdom. Of course, users can comment on other users’ tweets by using the mention command or re-share the tweet by clicking the retweet command so that it can be seen by followers, and followers can do the same. The problem that arises then is, can a tweet on Twitter be categorized as a creation and receive Copyright protection?

Copyright is a creator’s exclusive right that arises automatically given by the state to creators and / or copyright holders of their works and based on Article 1 point 3 of Law Number 28 of 2014 concerning Copyright (Copyright Law) what is meant by creation is “any creative work in the fields of science, art, and literature that is produced on the basis of inspiration, ability, thought, imagination, dexterity, skill or expertise expressed in a tangible form”.

As technology develops, copyright certainly also faces challenges from digital technology, namely regarding law enforcement. According to an Internet posting on blogherald.com by Jonathan Bailey, every time a new communication technology emerges, it shifts the copyright landscape, and new copyright issues that do not fit existing intellectual property (IP) standards arise. For an example tweets on Twitter.

Related to this matter, most of the Intellectual Property experts agree the response should not be an all-or-nothing answer, but rather “it depends.”, but they did answer with the answer “it depends”. Some tweets on twitter can be protected by copyright, but not all tweets on twitter can be protected with copyright. The font limit of just 280 per tweet makes it nearly impossible for it to reach the level of creativity required for copyright protection. Although, currently it has a “Thread” feature which allows its users to write longer tweets, but still not all tweets can be protected by copyright because there are several conditions that must be met.

Lawyer Brock Shinen in the article “Twitterlogical, The Misunderstanding of Ownership” states that it focuses on a salient point: facts cannot be copyrighted. And facts are what tweets are mostly about – from talking about the weather, to communicating what one had for dinner the night before, to complaining about the morning traffic. Whether one expresses them in a funny or unique way does not make a difference. However, one cannot then prevent other people from writing about the same fact. Thus, this kind of  tweets cannot be protected by copyright.

Meanwhile, if there is a tweet that contains thoughts made by a scientist, writer or artist who has elements of “intellectual property”. Then the idea is manifested in a real way through a tweet, then the said tweet can be categorized as a creation protected by copyright. As long as the original content is original and not copied from other people, and meets the provisions of the creation as regulated in the Copyright Law.

Thus, what is the form of protection? Twitter already has its own terms which are usually outlined in the “Terms & Conditions”. Twitter’s Terms of Service states that users own the rights to all their content. Twitter also provides a feature to control access to their Twitter account, as well as a feature to control the use of their tweets by other users through the “lock/private account” feature. Users who do not” lock” their tweets, it mean they allowed other Twitter users to also have a license to copy and redistribute the content by “retweeting”

Therefore, it can be seen that a copyrighted work, even if it is only a Twitter tweet, as long as it meets the creation criteria as stipulated in the Copyright Law, then the tweet can be protected by Copyright. Furthermore, if you find a “catchy” tweet, even though the tweet maker did not lock the tweet and you can retweet it, still you should not claim the tweet as your own property or even use it for personal economic purposes without the permission of the writer.

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