TECHNOLOGY

KOIN-TV Threat: 'Delete Tweet Or Face Legal Action', Oregon Media Central Claims

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

OregonMediaCentral reports that Portland, Oregon CBS affiliate KOIN-TV threatened legal action over a single Tweet OMC posted to Twitter.

OMC says it heard buzz about an "embarrassing" YouTube video featuring KOIN-TV reporters, supposedly posted by YouTube user "kointastic." OMC tried unsuccessfully to get ahold of the video, which seemed to have been removed from YouTube.

Wondering whether there could be a story behind this "disappearing" KOIN-TV clip, OMC writes that it posted a query to Twitter (@OregonMedia) asking if anyone had seen it:

Anyone see the behind-the-scenes @KOIN_Local_6 videos posted by "KOINTASTIC" before the account was closed? http://3.ly/vBq

The link in the Tweet went to the YouTube search results page, which showed the disabled "kointastic" videos (since then, all of the results have been removed).

According to OMC, it subsequently received the following email from the KOIN News Director, with the subject line "Remove video links from your Twitter account":

The "kointastic behind the scenes video" lifted by one of your followers from YouTube, was stolen.
That is the property of KOIN Local 6. Kindly remove that posting and link so that we don't have to pursue legal action.

Thank you.

OMC exchanged a number of emails with the KOIN-TV news director (detailed here). Ultimately, KOIN-TV did not insist that OMC delete the Tweet since the link went to what was essentially a blank YouTube page.

But could you get sued for a Tweet?

Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig told OMC the answer was "no": "You aren't at risk because of a link."

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