A major electronic media copyright issue. Agence France-Presse is arguing that “Twitter’s terms of service allow third parties broad re-use rights to their content, and thus the photographer’s selection of this mode of digital distribution gave AFP a broad license to redistribute the photographer’s images without consent from the photographer.” Yikes.

The big issue for me is that Agence France-Presse actually LICENSED the photos they took from a photographer who tweeted images from the Haitian earthquake. The photographer is currently — and justifiably — in legal proceedings with the media company. What AFP did was simply wrong. Sadly, this is not uncommon. Last week, I learned that the photos of someone I know was snagged by a Chinese publication that slapped their own watermark on his images and gave him no credit. I’m not a fan of strict copyright rules, particularly since they usually favor corporations with the resources to duke it out in courts, but I do believe in crediting people for their work.

Here is an interesting blog post from last year on the Human Rights blog for the Center for Research Libraries-Global Resources Network that outlines some of the evolving copyright issues that users of Twitter agree to when they sign-up for the service.

via Clancco, hat tip The Art Law Blog

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

One reply on “Who Owns Photos Distributed Via Twitter?”

  1. Another case of regulation clearly benefiting the largest corporations. This is because they write the rules. The only reason US regulation wasn’t fought tooth and nail when it began was because the elites realized it’s the best tool for crushing smaller competition.

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