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.
From Reuters earlier
The photographer put the Haiti images on Twitter, and they were then disseminated widely after an AFP editor discovered them through another Twitter user’s account, according to the ruling.
AFP distributed several of the pictures to Getty Images, the ruling said. The Washington Post, a Getty client, published four of the images on its website, according to the ruling.
So Morel approached AFP, which then sued Morel on grounds that it legally used his photos. Morel sued back, and sued the Washington Post and Getty as well, though at the time of this writing Getty is not in the same boat as the publishers.
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.
Twitter has long held that photographers own their tweeted content. The company’s Terms of Service section on copyright maintains that “Twitter respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the Services to do the same.”
FJP: Should be interesting to see how this plays out.