29 July 2015 | Team Tamar

Twitter joke plagiarism

It’s been brought to everyone’s attention this week that Twitter is removing allegedly ‘stolen’ jokes, without investigating the accusations. It was brought to everyone’s attention by the twitter account @PlagiarismBad, although they themselves have admitted they don’t think they’re responsible for Twitter’s crackdown, they simply noticed it first.

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So what if people steal jokes on Twitter? People steal jokes all the time. But to some people, it may be their ‘livelihood’.

“I simply explained to Twitter that as a freelance writer I make my living writing jokes (and I use some of my tweets to test out jokes in my other writing).”

That’s what Olga Lexell explained in a tweet to The Verge, asking twitter to remove five tweets that had ‘stolen’ her work. She also explained to The Verge that this is not the first time Twitter has complied with similar requests she has made, and that they’re usually removed within a few days of those complaints being made.

Not a great joke.

She also added that most of the accounts that ‘steal’ her tweets, without crediting her, were spam accounts, the kind that repost tons of other people’s jokes every day.

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But in this day and age, where many of us have accounts across multiple social media sites, where does ownership end, or even apply? No doubt you will have seen, as I have, a joke on one social media site, say for example on Twitter, which is then reposted on Facebook to thunderous applause and many likes. Who has the time to chase these down, asking for a DMCA on each one?

Not even big companies it seems. Take a look at this Google advert from May.

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And then this Microsoft one from June;

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Hashtag awkward, am I right? I’m sure it’s just coincidence.

But in the world of online, sure you can pick a fight where you want to, but you’ll never come out on top. You’re better off just rolling with the flow; after all, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

Team Tamar