Court in Cali Bounces Copyright Suit Over 26-Word Listserv Post

A case just out suggests that microblog posts, such as tweets on Twitter, might not be copyrightable. Eugene Volokh discusses the case of Kenneth M. Stern, a California attorney, vs. people who forwarded his listserv post. The case is Stern v. Does (C.D. Cal 2011) [pdf].

The complained of comment was 26 words and just a few bytes bigger than a tweet. Here are all 150 characters, which I can fearlessly reproduce here in their entirety thanks to the decision of the Central District:

Has anyone had a problem with White, Zuckerman . . . cpas including their economist employee Venita McMorris over billing or trying to churn the file?

The court held that this was uncopyrightable, on account of being too short, and that forwarding it by e-mail was fair use, to boot.


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