In what Reuters calls “one of the first big tests of intellectual property law involving social media” a judge has ruled that news organizations can’t freely use photos posted to Twitter.
Reuters reports: “Agence France-Presse and The Washington Post infringed on the copyrights of photographer Daniel Morel in using pictures he took in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan ruled. While AFP had argued that once the pictures appeared on Twitter they were freely available, the judge said that Twitter’s terms of service did not give the news agency a license to publish the images without Morel’s permission.”
Coincidentally enough – two local media organizations used photos ostensibly taken from Facebook today: the Providence Journal and RI Future.
We used Jenny Norris’ picture of Linc Chafee, Gina Raimondo, Frank Ferri and Art Handy at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on marriage equality last night. I couldn’t be at the hearing, but I saw Norris’ picture on Facebook and asked her if she would mind if we used it. She agreed and I think it was a pretty good deal all around: we got great art and she got a little notoriety.
As an aside, I think crowd-sourced journalism works well for a progressive news/opinion outlet and I hope we do more of it. To that end, please send your pictures, videos, story ideas, rants and raves to me at editor<at>rifuture<dot>org.
The ProJo, it seems, took a picture from the Facebook profile of an alleged drug and gun dealer whom police arrested recently. In the picture, the man is armed and holding a large amount of cash. Ironically, police became aware of him because of such pictures on Facebook, according to the Journal piece, and first reached out to set him up there.
The story doesn’t explicitly say the picture was lifted from Facebook, but it implies as much: “Except for one. The handle of a revolver is exposed in Main’s waistband, as he shows off money in one hand and a bagged substance in another.”
I don’t point this out to pick on the ProJo. I just thought the timing of it all was coincidental.