Embedding Tweets Is Copyright Infringement, Court Rules


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A federal court ruled Thursday that embedding tweets in articles may qualify as copyright infringement, making offenders open to prosecution, Torrent Freak reports.

Justin Goldman filed a lawsuit against Breitbart, Time, Vox and Yahoo for embedding tweets containing a photo Goldman took of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. Goldman posted the photo on Snapchat, and it eventually worked its way into tweets that the news organizations embedded in articles.

Embedding tweets is commonplace in online news and blogs. The media companies defended embedding tweets by arguing since the image was not saved on their servers, the companies did not commit copyright infringement. While their facts are right, the photo was saved on Twitter’s servers, Forrest said the outlets still committed a misdemeanor posting tweets of the photo in their articles.

“[The media companies’] actions violated plaintiff’s exclusive display right,” U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in court documents. “The fact that the image was hosted on a server owned and operated by an unrelated third party (Twitter) does not shield them from this result.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation slammed the ruling.

“Rejecting years of settled precedent, a federal court in New York has ruled that you could infringe copyright simply by embedding a tweet in a web page,” the EFF wrote in a statement. “The logic of the ruling applies to all in-line linking, not just embedding tweets. If adopted by other courts, this legally and technically misguided decision would threaten millions of ordinary Internet users with infringement liability.”

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