Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but for comedians on Twitter it’s a pain in the ass. Joke theft is rampant, with “parody” accounts and spambots racking up thousands of followers by tweeting stolen jokes as their own. But now Twitter is helping people bust joke-stealers.
If you file a DMCA complaint with Twitter about a stolen joke, the company will treat it like other copyright infringement requests, and may hide tweets if it decides that the tweets stole your punchline.
Twitter user @PlagiarismIsBad first called out Twitter’s new anti-comedy hack tactics:
As The Verge noted, freelance writer Ola Lexall filed a DMCA complaint with Twitter about a bunch of hacky accounts ripping off one of her jokes. Lexall then tweeted to explain how she’d framed the situation to Twitter:
It’s not working perfectly though. Now that word is circulating that you can file these complaints, people are already testing the waters by tweeting Lexall’s joke en masse:
With so many stolen jokes floating around, it’d be impossible to actually crack down on all of them. I’m surprised Twitter is even attempting to do so. “We don’t comment on individual accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson told me when I asked about joke-theft blocking, but pointed me to its general copyright policy.
Now if only there was a way to permanently ban The Fat Jew from social media...