Copyright of Twitter photos
By Andrew Hudson Published: January 17, 2012 Updated: December 18, 2015
A U.S. federal court has ruled that photos on Twitter can require photographer’s permission before being commercially distributed to, and published by, news agenceis. This is the latest chapter in the ongoing and possibly landmark case known as AFP v. Morel.
“In a decision late on Monday at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Alison Nathan said Twitter’s terms of service prevented the companies from using Daniel Morel’s images for commercial reasons without his permission.”
In January 2010, Daniel Morel, a freelance photographer, posted photos of the Haiti earthquake on his Twitter feed. Agence France-Presse (AFP) distributed some of those photos, without permission of Morel, to Getty Images which licensed them to The Washington Post which published four of the photos on its website. Lawsuits were filed which are still being untangled.
“In the case, AFP argued that it could use the pictures because they were freely available on Twitter. The judge disagreed, saying that while Twitter’s service terms do allow the reposting of users’ images in certain circumstances, they do not grant a licence for commercial use.”
The case is Agence France Presse v. Morel, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-02730.