Twitter, a microblogging and social network app, is widely used by more than 390 million users globally. The app not only allows the users to network and know the trending issues from different industries but also allows the users for marketing, advertising, commercializing one’s goods/services, etc. Twitter as a platform can be openly used by anyone, which increases the probability of intellectual property issues. It has devised various policies to deal with when any intellectual property of any user is infringed.
Twitter has a copyright policy in place based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. According to the policy, the copyright of a user is infringed when a profile or header photo has been unauthorizedly used, a copyrighted video or image has been uploaded without permission or infringing materials have been included in the tweets through links. However, the material so uploaded without permission should not be fair use of the copyrighted material.
Reporting any copyright infringement can be done by filling out the copyright form. The form can only be filled out by either the copyright owner or the authorized representative of the copyright owner.
Information required to report a copyright infringement includes:
Copyright owner’s full name
Name, company, job title, full address of the person reporting the copyright infringement
Nature and link of the original work
Link of infringing material. Note that a link to a specific tweet has to be provided and not the Twitter page on which the copyrighted material has been posted
Signature whether a digital signature or writing the name of the person also suffices.
The complaint will be reviewed by Twitter and the procedure to take an action will be as per the Digital Copyright Millennium Act. The complaint will be forwarded to the affected user so that the infringing material can be removed. Twitter will either remove or restrict access to the infringing material.
The affected user shall have an opportunity to appeal to Twitter to reinstate any material that is taken down. The user has to file a counter-notice by filling out a form. Details of the user and the material which was taken down have to be submitted.
Based on the counter-notice, the complainant may retract his DMCA notice.
According to the trademark policy, trademark infringement or violation of the policy is caused when a trademark is used by unauthorized people in such a way as to mislead or confuse the public. In such situations, infringement can be reported to Twitter by filling out the trademark form.
The trademark form can only be filled out by either the trademark proprietor or the authorized representative of the trademark proprietor. Further, Twitter takes note of issues related to registered trademarks only and pending trademarks are not sufficient to take an action.
Details required to fill out the trademark form are:
Name, job title, company name and website, email address, and phone number of the person filling out the form.
Name, address, country, website if any, and Twitter username of the proprietor of the trademark.
Information about the trademark like word or symbol, registration number, and Class of goods/services in which the trademark is registered.
Registrar of trademark and URL of any direct link to access to trademark.
Authorization letter from the proprietor of the trademark in case the form is being filled out by the authorized signatory. This may be the agent’s agreement, power of attorney, etc.
Twitter shall take note of the violation of policy and may take the necessary action by either permanently suspending the account or providing an opportunity to comply with the policy. However, the Twitter user shall have an opportunity to appeal to Twitter in case the account has been suspended invalidly or based on an error.
Twitter has put in place a counterfeit policy to curb the sale or promotion of counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods are those goods that pass off the goods sold under a valid trademark. When any product tries to duplicate the trademarked product, or goods are sold under the registered trademark without authorization, etc. will be considered counterfeit. Anyone can report such misbehaviour by filling out the counterfeit goods' form on Twitter.
Twitter has provided safety steps to protect one’s intellectual property. One can make use of these steps to take action against any infringement whatsoever to have a quick and faster way to resolve issues. However, apart from Twitter, there is always an option to proceed with legal action which is cumbersome in nature.