“Can I copyright a Twitter hashtag?”

I was asked this question when doing one of my social media clinics with a group of community organisations recently and kind of laughed it off – how silly, of course you can’t.  I then repeated this incident at a subsequent clinic to illustrate the misunderstandings that sometimes arise. But then I thought – am I being unfair? Might my original interlocutor have had a point?

Well, a bit of Googling brought up an article you can read HERE – and basically, the answer is no.  You can’t legally own a hashtag.  The only thing you can do is make your hashtag unique and easily associated with your brand.  But it’s doubtful that you can claim it as your own. That said – you are able to register your hashtag should you wish and turn it into a ‘Twub’ – but again, this isn’t copyrighting of a hashtag.

All of which may be frustrating to some – particularly as hashtags migrate out of Twitter on to Instagram, Google+, Linkedin and soon, Facebook.  Social media marketers love hashtags because they can promote brands off the back of them.  But I’d be curious to know whether these marketers have views on the copyrighting of their hashtags.

Find out more about my social media clinics and how to book one HERE

 

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