This $1.2 million lawsuit is why you shouldn’t steal photos from Twitter

1 2 million lawsuit shouldnt steal photos twitter cam

Photograph Daniel Morel has been awarded $1.2 million after suing photography agencies that attempted to pass his photos off as their own after pulling them from Twitter.

In 2010, Morel was in his native Haiti, documenting the destruction of the catastrophic earthquake that caused major damage and left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

The images are haunting and graphic, and they were stolen. Morel posted some of the photos to Twitter, which were then taken and used by Agence France-Presse and Getty Images as their own, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright Act. AFP was responsible for finding the photos, through another user who had retweeted them, and then provided them to Getty. The editor who had found them claimed that he thought seeing them on Twitter meant they were available to the public.

Apparently Twitter’s terms of service on reusing others’ content confused the matter; however, the editor responsible for all of this misinterpreted: While you can retweet, favorite, or even post images you found on Twitter within Twitter, nothing in the service’s policies allow you to redocument this content outside the platform.

This is part of why journalist use Twitter embedding instead of screen-grabbing tweets: Attribution is automatically included, and the content is still technically coming directly from Twitter, as all the interactive functions are preserved to take you back to the original post itself. There’s also a Twitter citation widget, for writers who need to source material while also not violating any author’s (tweeter’s?) rights. 

While these two companies weren’t the only ones to run Morel’s photos without correct attribution, the others – which included the Washington Post, CBS, and ABC, among others – settled with Morel out of court for undisclosed sums. And now AFP and Getty will have to pay up the hefty fine.

In a statement, Morel’s lawyer explained the magnitude of this case. “We believe that this is the first time these defendants or any other major digital licensors have been found liable for the willful violation of a photojournalist’s copyrights in his own works.”

We’re constantly being reminded that once we send something into the social media ether, the Internet owns it. But turns out, sometimes your tweets can be protected.

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.