Twitter account @PlagiarismBad has since Saturday been making the rounds as an entity in the fight against people stealing other people's jokes on Twitter. You might be thinking, "Goodness me, how overblown and inconsequential," but the truth of this matter is that a tweet, like any other thing that is written or otherwise created, is the product of somebody's mind, and therefore counts as intellectual property. It's easy to treat the words of a tweet, especially if retweeted enough times, as a meme in itself and thus fair game to be mercilessly and relentlessly promulgated throughout the nooks and crannies of Twitter's more shameless spammy parody accounts.

But one tweet seems to be protected against the tide of plagiarism: "saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side" – admittedly not the funniest joke you could ever expect to read on Twitter (no point crying over spilled juice am I right?), but the owner/creator of the tweet, Olga Lexell, took offence when parody accounts began copying the words exactly and tweeting it as their own creation.

Lexell complained to the social media site itself:

"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)," she said. "I then explained that as such, the jokes are my intellectual property, and that the users in question did not have my permission to repost them without giving me credit."

But is a tweet copyrightable? Intellectual Property Law expert Andres Guadamuz wrote on his blog TechnoLlama thinks so, citing a prior case put before the EU Court of Justice – which "declared that the reproduction of 11 words was enough to show infringement."

"It is therefore safe to assume," he concludes, "that European courts will consider tweets to be original works if they "contain elements which are the expression of the intellectual creation of the author of the work." A joke, a silly comment, a short rant, maybe even a boring complaint about lunch… all will be protected if they are deemed to meet the standard."

However, over in the US, American intellectual property, business and entertainment attorney Brock Shinen doesn't see it as cut-and-dry as that. He actually covered the issue a few years ago via a built-for-purpose site called

"The question is not: Are Tweets Copyrightable," he asserted. "The question is: Is This Tweet Copyrightable. The copyrightability of Tweets is not dependent on the fact that they are Tweets. Rather, it's dependent on the analysis of the Tweet in question."

What deems a tweet copyright-worthy? What qualities must it have in order to meet the necessary criteria to become copyrightable? In the instance of Olga Lexell, it seems to have been the case that since she explained her grievance well, relating it to her own professional work, her tweets (or more accurately "tweet") has been protected, with subsequent copycat tweets deleted as and when they appear.

So whilst there are those who will side absolutely blindly with Lexell and say "yes, yes and hell yes, this is the Most Correct thing to do," there are as many people who will see this contrarily as reeking of pettiness and even censorship – as Dazed Digital reports. What is better: bowing to the will and want of one individual, or allowing the majority to continue their most likely harmless copy-pasting unmolested?

In our individualist world, the answer on paper (at the very least) would be the former, but if and only if the rights of the individual are treated in an egalitarian way; that is, a writer in our modern world of content creation shouldn't be treated with such an elitist air as it is being treated here. It shouldn't matter whether you're a writer or a banker or an artist or a NEET – if you tweet something funny, and you want it protected, it should be protected regardless of the perceived worth of the tweet. If anything less, the internet will lose out on true equality.