Don’t Use Twitter Photos Without Permission Or You Might Get Sued

Have you ever taken a screenshot of a photo you saw on Twitter and reposted it somewhere as part of a blog post?

Well, you better think twice before doing THAT again because a judge just ruled that two news agencies should’ve asked permission before using an image tweeted by a photojournalist.

Mashable reports that District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that “Agence France-Press violated the copyright of photojournalist Daniel Morel by taking photos of a 2010 earthquake in Haiti that he tweeted and disseminating them without permission via Getty. The Washington Post, the court found, violated Morel’s copyright by running four of the photos from Getty also without Morel’s permission, according to Reuters.”

Twitter’s Terms of Service lay at the center of Nathan’s decision: While the AFP argued Morel’s work was free to use once posted to Twitter, Nathan instead found that Twitter’s Terms of Service required that news outlets first get permission before running tweeted photos.

Nathan, however, did rule that the retweeting of such photos is allowed.

This only makes sense, really. It isn’t fair for news outlets to benefit from a photojournalist’s hard work and not compensate him for it – but how far do you think this will go? With photo filters turning everyone into an amateur photographer, does this mean we soon won’t be able to share wild photos posted on Twitter (even when that IS the story) without the owner’s permission?

Looks like social media may have just become a little LESS scary for some folks prone to posting pics they shouldn’t. What do you think of this?

(Twitter bird camera image from Shutterstock)