Posts Tagged ‘termsofservice’

You Don’t Own Anything Anymore: Copyright Law in an Internet Age

John Herrman over at BuzzFeed has written up an interesting piece on how and why “grabby” terms of service have become ubiquitous in the online world of social media:

In a world where sharing a photo is strictly a matter of getting another copy made and mailing it, or getting it published, copyrights are pretty easy to keep track of and these laws hold up pretty well. Sending a physical photo to your grandmother goes like this: you either put the picture in an envelope and send it, or you get a copy made yourself and send that.

Sending your grandmother an email photo, though, might involve copying your photo five or six times; first to Google’s servers, then to another server, then to an ISP’s CDN, then to AOL’s servers, then to your grandmother’s computer. As far as you’re concerned, this feels exactly like dropping an envelope in the mail. As far as copyright is concerned, it’s a choreographed legal dance.

And so these sites have to get your permission — a license — to copy and distribute the things you post. Just to function as advertised, they need your permission to “use” and to “host,” to “store” and “reproduce.” What they don’t necessarily need is the right to “modify” and “create derivative works,” or to “publicly perform.” That is, unless they need to make money. Which of course they do.

You Don’t Own Anything Anymore (via APhotoEditor)


Image credit: Large copyright graffiti sign on cream colored wall by Horia Varlan

The “Scary-sounding” Contracts of Social Media Sites

There has been a lot of discussion regarding social media sites and their scary-sounding terms of services that always sound like rights-grabs. Here’s what Photoshop guru Scott Kelby had to say after trying out Google+:

Of course, when it comes to posting photos on any social media site, the discussion always turns to copyright issues, and honestly I don’t personally have any problems with Google+’s terms. I don’t think Google is going to steal all my photos and use them for their own evil purposes (in fact, I’ve never read a single story about some big photo-sharing site misappropriating a photographer’s photos, or anything along those lines, so I just don’t sweat it. I know, I know….I’m totally naive—the big corporations are actually secretly out to get…..[wait for it...wait for it]…free photography).

Here’s what I do know: any time lawyers get involved in stuff like this, you’re going to have a lengthy legalese document that makes it sound like Google+ (or Facebook, or Twitter) is going to grab all your rights for now and eternity, when all they’re actually trying to do is keep their client (Google+ in this case) from getting sued.

Scott also writes that the magazine he publishes (Photoshop User) has similar scary-sounding terms that his lawyers tell him are needed to avoid “getting sued into oblivion”.

I’m Kind of Digging Google+ [Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider]

Getty Lawyers Say Google+ Terms Okay

A little update to the recent brouhaha over Google+’s Terms of Service: Tom W of Getty Images posted the above message to fellow Getty members on Flickr informing them that Getty’s lawyers have no problems with the ToS. He writes,

The important thing to watch out for in Terms of Service, and it’s the same as we’ve talked about for contests, is that whatever they do (or allow third parties to do) with the images should be in the context of the service itself, not to re-license or otherwise commercialize the images to other parties (or even the main company itself) outside of the context they’re posted for.

Certain people have argued that uploading your photos to Google+ may hurt your ability in the future to sell exclusive licenses to images. If that’s what you’re worried about, it’s probably safer to keep your photographs off the Internet completely, since every content sharing service on the Internet requires at least a license to display your photos using their service.

(via ReadWriteWeb)

FUD Over Google+’s Terms of Service

Last year Scott Bourne caused some commotion among photo-enthusiasts by claiming that Twitter’s ToS forced photographers to give up rights to photos shared through the service. After Google launched their new Google+ social network, Bourne again wrote a very similar post warning his readers about the ToS. We weren’t planning on weighing in, but seeing that the FUD has spread to our comments and even The Washington Post, we’d like to clear some of it away for our readers.
Read more…

TwitPic Updates ToS to Reassure Users About Photo Copyright Ownership

Since launching in 2008, TwitPic has been at the center of quite a few copyright controversies and legal battles, especially when disasters strike and Twitter users are able to publish photos of things that are happening well before major news outlets. Back in early 2010 photographer Daniel Morel had an iconic photograph taken during the Haiti earthquake widely republished in newspapers across the world without his permission after he uploaded the photos to TwitPic, then later that year Twitter’s decision to display TwitPic photos directly on their website caused a brouhaha. TwitPic has finally decided to update their Terms of Service to make it clear that users of the service retain the copyright of everything they upload.
Read more…

Twitter Photo Rights Controversy is Much Ado About Nothing

Last week Scott Bourne published an article on Photofocus titled, “Photos On Twitter – What You Should Know“. In it, he claimed that Twitter’s terms of service (TOS) forced photographers to give Twitter a license to do whatever they wanted with photos shared through the service. The argument centered around a couple paragraphs found in the document:

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

This was used to argue that Twitter owns a license to photos shared through the service. Read more…

MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger

MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.

Read more…

Photographer Claims Daily Mail Stole TwitPic Photos

Earlier this month, the Daily Mail published some photos taken at a Dalston polling station during the British General Election by Emily James of Just Do It.

James’ photos were originally uploaded via TwitPic. Later, they were republished on several other sites, including The Guardian and Times Online, initially without permission or compensation. However, The Guardian and Times both offered James retroactive compensation. The Times offered £250 for using one photo, along with a brief emailed apology for using the image without permission.

The Daily Mail, however, initially incorrectly credited the image to someone else, then removed the credit line altogether.  James sent them with an invoice for £1170 — a rate set at £130 and multiplied by three per image to compensate for their lack of knowledge or permission.

The picture editor at the Daily Mail responded, saying:

Thanks for the invoice.

Unfortunately we cannot pay the amount you have requested, these images were taken from twitpic and therefore placed in the public domain, also after consultation with Twitter they have always asked us to byline images by the username of the account holder.

We are more that happy to pay for the images but we’ll only be paying £40 per image.

James, aware of the difference between TwitPic and Twitter Terms of Service, responded to the Daily Mail:

I’m afraid that you are wrong about the terms of publishing on Twitpic. If you read the terms of service you will see that copyright is clearly retained by the poster:

http://twitpic.com/terms.do

Third parties who wish to reproduce posted images must contact the copyright holder and seek permission.

You should have contacted me if you wanted to use the photos, as every other news outlet did. had you done so, you might have been in a position to get the photos for £40’s each.

However you didn’t contact me, even though this would have been very easy to do, nor did you inform me that you had used them. Instead, I had to uncover that you had used them, that one of them was not credited even with the correct twitter account, and that none were credited as I would have asked them to be.

James and the crew at Just Do It Films say they are still waiting for full payment and an apology.

This seems to be a similar issue that photojournalist Daniel Morel has with news agency AFP over whether images distributed over TwitPic and Twitter warrant free public distribution.

(via British Journal of Photography)

Kodak Loses Marketing Guru, Launches New Photo Sharing Site

Kodak made the surprising announcement today that their Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Hayzlett is resigning on May 28th to “pursue personal projects.”

Hayzlett recently authored a book on his experiences with marketing and brand-building, called The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing?, which he has been actively promoting on a tour and Twitter over the last few months.

Hayzlett, who has been with Kodak since April 2006, is known for his accessible public presence, especially on Twitter. Though Hayzlett was often criticized for his over-sharing, strong persona via social media, he said that sharing his knowledge, especially about his use of social media as a tool, is key to his success in bringing Kodak back into the public eye.

The CMO has more than 21,000 followers, and has used the social media site to engage with customers, sometimes with literally biting exchanges. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Hayzlett said:

“I’ve had in the corporate world my public relations, community relations people walk up to me and say Jeff, I don’t think this is appropriate that you wrote “Bite Me” to this guy. I look at them and I go, well that’s who I am. The guy said something very offensive, he had no right to say it, I’m sorry. They say well please be nicer, so now I write “Please Bite Me”.

Kodak says Hayzlett will be involved with the company through August as he transitions out.

Even as Hayzlett is leaving, Kodak is sticking to developing its online presence by launching a new photo sharing website, Kodak Moments.

Photos and videos, along with captions, can be uploaded to the interactive community site. Users then tag the photo with a certain emotion. User-submitted photos can be browsed by emotion, and other viewers can tag them with emotions they feel in response. The site also has “Moments,” which are official events by Kodak, such as the Burton US Open, Celebrity Apprentice, and the People’s Choice Awards.

Kodak Interactive Marketing Manager, Mike Mayfield said that images uploaded will be displayed in email newsletters, marketing, Times Square Billboard, and other marketing outlets.

Some photographers may be uneasy with uploading, since the rather broad Terms of Service currently states:

In consideration of acceptance of my submitted photo, video and/or story (“Contribution”) as part of KODAK Moments, I hereby grant Kodak, and others with Kodak’s consent, the right to edit, copy, distribute, publish, display and otherwise use the Contribution for purposes of the KODAK Moments program without attribution, consideration or compensation to me, the photographer, my successors or assigns or any other individual or entity.

Mayfield responded to the concern, saying:

Kodak has great respect for the rights and use of images we receive. Images submitted to the KODAK Moments website will only be used in the context of promoting the KODAK Moments program. The language in the terms of service stating it could be used for any advertising or publicity is an oversight and we are correcting the terms so that language is removed. We have received some wonderful submissions and if we do decide we would like to use those images outside of the KODAK Moments program, we will reach out and obtain permission from the photographer before doing so.

So it sounds like Kodak still has to hash out some legal jargon, but at least they’ll ask your permission before running specific photos in their ads, albeit possibly without attribution.

(via PDN)

News Wire Allegedly Steals Iconic Haiti Photo, Then Sues Photographer

Photojournalist Daniel Morel shot an iconic image of a shocked woman looking out from the rubble moments after last January’s earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti. Within an hour, Morel jumped on Twitter to share 13 high resolution images he had uploaded on Twitpic. By the next day, the photo of the woman was picked up by Agence France Presse (AFP) and Getty Images, was run on the cover of several publications and websites.

But Morel said he never authorized the news wires to distribute his images. In fact, several of his images were credited to another person, Lisandro Suero of the Dominican Republic, who reportedly has no photographic background. However, Suero tweeted Morel’s images without the photographer’s permission, and claimed copyright as his own:

And so began a legal storm.

Now Morel is being sued by AFP after he sent them cease and desist letters that the agency calls an “antagonistic assertion of rights.”

According to court documents, AFP claims that they did not infringe on Morel’s copyright and is suing Morel for “commercial disparagement,” as well as “demanding exorbitant payment.” AFP says that Twitter’s Terms of Service allowed for them to use, copy and distribute the image, and that Morel did not specify limits on how the photo should be credited.

Morel responded, saying that he was not familiar with Twitter’s TOS, and maintains that the images were stolen from his account without his permission, distributed and sold by the agency, which then “induced” other publications to violate Morel’s copyright. In a counterclaim to the agency’s complaint, Morel’s lawyer, Barbara Hoffman wrote:

To the extent that under the circumstances a specific intent in posting the images on Twitter can be attributed to Mr. Morel given the circumstances, … he posted his images online and advertised them on Twitter in the hopes that his images would span the globe to inform the world of the disaster, and that he would also receive compensation and credit as a professional photographer for breaking news of the earthquake before the news and wire services.

Some publications, including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, and the Associated Press contacted Morel to exchange compensation for his permission to publish. Others did not.

In order to enforce his copyright, Morel sent several cease and desist notices to several publications.

It seems that the case really boils down to the semantics of the Twitter TOS.

What might be worth noting is that the court documents from AFP frequently cite Twitter’s TOS, which mostly regards the text in Tweets, and does not extend to content linked to (otherwise, entire sites’ content might be considered royalty-free). Morel uploaded on TwitPic, which has a separate Terms, and is an entirely separate entity from Twitter.

Media Nation blogger Dan Kennedy posted PDFs of AFP’s complaint against Morel and Morel’s answer.

Whatever the verdict, this suit may change the manner in which photographers and journalists transmit their data via social media, even in difficult emergency situations like post-quake Haiti.

Do you have legal insight, experience with copyright infringement, or any thoughts about social media and the TOS?