Mark Cuban explains Twitter experiment: ‘Just knew it would drive people crazy’

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Mark Cuban.
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban told Business Insider on Tuesday that he embarked on a recent Twitter campaign, in which he argued that his tweets were copyrighted and therefore could not be posted elsewhere without permission, because he “knew it would drive people crazy.”

It evidently worked.

Earlier in December, Cuban made his Twitter account private for a short time, seeking to cut down on his followers. But he also posted a tweet that caught the attention of the Twitterverse.

Notice: For as long as my Twitter feed is private all original tweets are copyrighted and can’t be posted elsewhere without my permission,” he wrote.

Cuban has since made his account public, doing so after publishing a blog post regarding his suggestions to President-elect Donald Trump on infrastructure spending.

But on Monday night, Gizmodo published a story with the headline “Tech Billionaire Mark Cuban Still Has No Idea How Tweets Work.” Gizmodo wrote that Cuban’s tweet was like “the rich cousin of those bulls— Facebook copyright statuses you see your most gullible friends post every couple years.”

As fair-use doctrine relating to copyright law allows, Cuban’s tweets could be quoted elsewhere, such as in news stories, without any permission needed because the user could prove the newsworthiness of a post from an influential public figure with millions of social media followers.

After the Gizmodo story was tweeted at him on Tuesday, Cuban engaged with several users on the subject, most of whom were curious about the meaning of his mid-December tweet. Business Insider also reached out to him for comment, seeking some clarification on what he meant by his initial posting.

In an email, Cuban said his tweet had “nothing to do with quotes” from outlets, adding that he “never had a problem with anyone quoting me.”

“My tweet was very clear,” he said. “It only applied to when my feed was private and to using my tweets off of Twitter. You can’t reuse copyrighted material that you find on Twitter, elsewhere (i.e., off of Twitter).”

Asked if he was having problems with users taking photos or videos from his tweets, or reposting them as their own words on individual accounts, he said he was not.

“Just knew it would drive people crazy and it would be entertaining,” he said.