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From: Rondina Muncy <>
Subject: [APG] Tweeting the lecture
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 14:24:05 -0500


Recently in another discussion I used an example from an educational
conference that occurred in NYC. During this particular conference,
participants were encouraged to tweet about the discussions and tweets from
outside of the conference were displayed on a screen. The interplay between
the attendees within and those monitoring the conference from without
broadened the discussion. Because this comment was posted on July 29 I feel
a responsibility to address the issue of "tweeting the lecture" below.

This week a blogger posted the collective comments he/she twittered from the
BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy that took place July 28-31.
This raised some questions. The tweets from at least two lectures seemed to
be following a handout or the lecture being presented---point by point. Does
this trespass on the intellectual property rights of the instructors? (I'm
operating on the assumption that permission was not obtained from the
presenters since the blog page did not contain a statement to this effect.)

To complicate this---the tweets are lecture points as seen through the
mind's eye of the twitterer. They may be a modification of the lecturer's
spoken thoughts. Are these tweets a handout or lecture notes? In some cases
it is hard to tell. If the notes are in essense a handout, they are being
created by someone other than the presenter thus out of control of the

To further complicate this---the individual tweets intertwined with other
tweets from the same conference may not infringe on the speaker's rights,
but the blogger's compiled tweets may.

I turned to the US Copyright Office for help with this, studying the chapter
on "Fair Use."


There are four points that are considered in fair use, the fourth being the
one that troubles me. It states that, "The effect of the use upon the
potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work" is considered.
Another article entitled, " Who owns copyright in Lecture notes?" was
interesting in that it argued for the rights of both the lecturer and the
notetaker (in our case, a twitterer).


I don't know if this is the first large genealogy conference that has been
twittered, but it is the first one I have heard of and the first time I have
seen compiled tweets posted on any site. I believe that it is time to have a
discussion about this and would like to hear the thoughts of APG listers.


Rondina P. Muncy
Ancestral Analysis
2960 Trail Lake Drive
Grapevine, Texas 76051


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