Lawsuits Over Who Owns Tweets?

from the omgstop dept

It had to happen eventually. Apparently, there’s a lawsuit going on over the “ownership” of a Twitter account that goes by the name OMGFacts, which (as you might have guessed, posts a bunch of random facts). It has nearly two million followers. Not bad. But there’s now a federal lawsuit over who actually owns the feed. Apparently, there were two people who ran the account — a 17-year-old student who started it and his 24-year-old “business partner” whose job it was to help develop the feed and get it more attention. The argument covers a bunch of ground on both intellectual property issues and contract issues. Basically, it seems like a business dispute where the end result is that perhaps neither party comes out of it happy. The Twitter angle just makes it that much more twisted. As Eric Goldman notes in a quote in the article:

“We’ve had 600 years to develop the rules on books,” Goldman said. “We’ve had less than five years to develop how those rules apply to tweets.”

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Comments on “Lawsuits Over Who Owns Tweets?”

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17 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Twitter owns the tweets… Just read the TOS

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 media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Per Contract law....

I have heard something like this, however there can be a catch. If a minor does enter into a contract and upholds their side, the other party cannot void the contract because it is with a minor.

I may be wrong too, but contracts with minors are somewhat “one-way” enforceable. If the minor doesn’t uphold their side, it’s your fault for making a contract with a minor.

Jes Lookin says:

It's called Broadcast

The concept of Broadcast seems to be a common brain-lock in ‘IP’ thinking. Common sense says that if you put something out on a Comms media that anybody can receive – it’s ‘out there’ for whatever ‘fair use’. In pre-corporatocrasy days, that meant whatever non-money-making thing the receivers wanted to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

“We’ve had 600 years to develop the rules on books,” Goldman said. “

and those rules turned out to be a complete failure. ie: look at 95+ year copy protection lengths.

“We’ve had less than five years to develop how those rules apply to tweets.”

I hope the rules on tweets don’t turn out to be nearly as much of a failure as the rules on books, but I won’t hold my breath.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Your Rights
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. 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 media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

The twitter TOS.

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