IP: Twitter terms of service do not provide “others” with affirmative defense to copyright infringement

Absent a statement to the contrary, content on the Internet is not dedicated to the public domain and free for all to reproduce and distribute

Just because content is posted on the Internet does not mean it is free for reproduction and redistribution without permission. An original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression is protected under federal copyright laws. Copyright protection attaches automatically the moment an original work is created. Neither registration nor notice is required for the work to be protected. There are benefits to timely registration, however, the primary of which is the availability of statutory damages in lieu of actual damages for infringement. If elected, statutory damages can be up to $30,000 per infringement or up to $150,000 for willful infringement at the discretion of the court.

The owner of the copyrights in a work has the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, perform and make derivative works of the original work. Publishing a work on the Internet does not divest the copyright owner of those rights.

Contributing Author

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Michael Smith

Michael T. Smith is of counsel at Birch Stewart Kolasch & Birch. He has practiced in the intellectual property field since 2001, focusing his practice...

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