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From: <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Tweeting the lecture
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 20:47:51 -0500
References: <84F8B349153142DB862173A1145B051E@acer511eba12df><763895.19930.qm@web31607.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
In-Reply-To: <763895.19930.qm@web31607.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

Regarding the copyright and plagiarism aspects of Tweets:

As a lecturer, I do not consider it a copyright infringement or a plagiarism
issue if or when someone tweets a few points from a lecture of mine--no more
than if a genealogy columnist were to mention high points of a lecture I had
given. My main concern is with the accuracy of the reporting.

I have seen at least one case of tweets-turned-into-blog-entry (of someone
else's lectures) that others have felt was a violation of fair use--i.e., a
series of tweets that appears to have copied a lecturer's numbered list of
"how-to principles." Again, long-existing parallels can be drawn and the
differences seem to hinge upon the context in which it is done. A personal
parallel I might draw would be the "13 principles" in each of the citation
and evidence-analysis chapters of Evidence! ("Little-e," as Elissa calls
it. :) Numerous people, since the book was released in 1997, have asked for
permission to reproduce one or the other list in their newsletter. My answer
was always "yes." Meanwhile, another presenter at a large, regional society
meeting used one or the other set of 13 points and began her oral
presentation by stating where those 13 points originated. Again, no problem.
However, her handout presented the 13 points, apparently without identifying
their source, and the society's editor then reproduced the handout in the
society's newsletter, attributing everything to the attorney who gave the
presentation. That *was* a problem. As with everything about genealogy,
*context* is key.

The reason I had no problem granting permission for reproducing a list of 13
points from Evidence! (with correct attribution, of course) is that it
represented just 1 page out of 128. Even though the 13 points are critical
ones, no one would get the substance of the book from those 13 points and,
to my way of thinking, no would would have the perception that they were
getting it.

By correlation, my own personal opinion is that a series of 140-character
tweets saying 'Lecturer X presented these 13 points' should accomplish two
positive things: it is good PR for the lecturer and it provides 13
sound-bites that will help the tweeter-blogger's readers. To my way of
thinking, 13 "sentences" are no substitute for the instruction one would get
from a full hour on the subject and might well encourage others to attend
the lecture when a convenient opportunity arose. (r, it could DIScourage
attendance, depending upon the quality of the lecturer's "points" and upon
the accuracy with which they were reported.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

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