Copyright and Twitter: This Conversation Has Just Begun

by Ashley Pinder

 With any new means of social conversation comes a set of unanswered questions about First Amendment rights. Last week’s Florida Public Relations Association of Orlando (FPRA) luncheon just happened to touch on that very issue. While the speakers were well-versed in all things First Amendment regarding published work, the spoken word, and the possible criminal penalties for defamation in either environment, they were less sure of the impacts on new media.

We all know that people have a right to their intellectual property, but what constitutes ownership in the Twitterverse or the Blogosphere? Especially when you only have 140 characters to share your thought and cite a source …

These issues are bound to come up more and more, in fact, just today the Associated Press reported that St. Louis Cardinals baseball manager Tony La Russa sued Twitter over a “fake page” responsible for several Tweets that caused him emotional distress and damaged his reputation. Who’s to blame for this? Twitter?

If you are engaging in the social media conversation make sure you are still giving credit where credit is due. And watch your back to avoid any suits against you or your company. If you have a question about copyright or Fair Use, just ask the U.S. Government, but I’d like to bet they have yet to lay out guidelines for every form of social media.

Maybe the best thing to do is be completely transparent. Here are some tips for an effective protocol from Mashable, a leader in all things social media: “10 Must-haves for your social media guide”.

I think we all know that this conversation is just warming up.

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