Daniel Morel And AFP Go To Court Today

- - copyright

Photographer Daniel Morel whose Haiti images were swiped off Twitter by Agence France-Presse is going to court today “in a case that could set precedent in online copyright legislation and impact photographers around the world.”

AFP has been joined in its claim against Morel by Getty Images, CNN, ABC, and CBS. Together they’re asking the court to rule the the photographer should not be allowed to pursue his claim that they stole his Haiti earthquake images.

Read about it on nppa.org and also my previous post (here).

There Are 19 Comments On This Article.

  1. Your pretty much asking for trouble (images taken) when you post them on these social sites..

    It’s kind of like a cops episode I once watched. The police put a $3,000 bike (un-locked) in front of a liquor store at night and waited for someone to steal it, then they would go in and arrest the guy.

  2. “This case is a perfect illustration of why anyone posting or uploading images to a Web site should read and understand the terms and conditions of that site before accepting them.”

    This is an example of the necessity of having your own professional brand, and operating within that brand. i.e., get a PhotoShelter account, or a similar service attached to your website, and make all licensees and sales from within that domain. Social networking sites should only be used to announce or advertise that the images are available from YOUR site.

    But I still side with Morel. The media outlets should have known that they had no rights to the images. I think they’re collectively using this case to set new precedents to grab images.

  3. Theft is theft. Should be open and shut. Pay the man and pay a penalty (hefty). It’s one thing for him to share his images, but it’s another for an agency to appropriate said images and publish them for themselves.

  4. I can agree that maybe it’s not a shocker that they were stolen, but seriously these are companies that absolutely know better and disregarded that knowledge to get ahead($).
    I do not even see how they have any grounds to stand on.

  5. Morel who has a background as a photojournalist really showed little business sense when he uploaded his images on a social network.

    As Jack noted above anytime you place an image on the web expect that it has the potential to be taken and used without compensation to the photographer.

    By just placing a notice (ORIGINAL MATERIAL: ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT ©2010, by place name here, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
    with contact information would have alerted the services he understands the process.
    It has no real basis when you go to court other than to let the judge know that you attempted to protect your material.

    Wire services use an “OUTING” filter that if you note (TV, ALL MAGS, ALL WEB USE, NYT, LAT, OUT) They have to honor it…sometimes they’ll call to negotiate

  6. I agree that he should have been more careful, but I also agree that the thieves here also knew what they were doing…it wasn’t some kid grabbing something off the internet.

    If I leave my doors wide open and go on a vacation, that’s pretty dumb, but if someone walks in my house while I’m gone and steals my T.V. they should still pay the penalty. Somehow people understand about stealing a car, T.V. etc., but they aren’t able to transfer that to intellectual property…but these people do know the difference.

    • @TimR, what an interesting story. How utterly sleezy can you be– trolling MySpace for photos to use illegally and then accuse her of trying to run a scam when she askes them to remove the photo. Classic. They might make great business parters with AA

  7. “We reserve the right at all times (but will not have an obligation) to remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services and to terminate users or reclaim usernames. Please review the Twitter Rules (which are part of these Terms) to better understand what is prohibited on the Service. We also reserve the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as we reasonably believe is necessary to (i) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, (ii) enforce the Terms, including investigation of potential violations hereof, (iii) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, (iv) respond to user support requests, or (v) protect the rights, property or safety of Twitter, its users and the public.”

    According to this ^^^^ taken directly from Twitter’s terms of service, I would assume that Twitter can do whatever they want with his images, including licensing them for monetary gain. Correct?

    Fact is, as morally unsound for these photos to be used, legally speaking, I think Twitter is justified in allowing them to be used elsewhere provided that the new users have come to some arrangement with Twitter to do so.

    This leads to the question of whether a LINK TO AN IMAGE shared on Twitter grants Twitter the right to unprecedented usage or does Twitter only gain this usage right by using such services as TwitPic….

    • @UrbanDecayChris.com,

      The TOS paragraphs you quoted don’t make any reference to republishing, licensing, or ownership of information.

      It only refers to removing content they find objectionable (for example: links to kiddie porn) and disclosing information about users to the authorities (to use the same example: the IP address of posters of kiddie porn, deleted tweets, etc.).

      • @dude, I copied/pasted the wrong section by mistake….

        “You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
        Tip This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. But what’s yours is yours – you own your content.

        You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.
        Tip Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how API developers can interact with your content. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind.

        Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.
        We may modify or adapt your Content in order to transmit, display or distribute it over computer networks and in various media and/or make changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to any requirements or limitations of any networks, devices, services or media.
        You are responsible for your use of the Services, for any Content you provide, and for any consequences thereof, including the use of your Content by other users and our third party partners. You understand that your Content may be rebroadcasted by our partners and if you do not have the right to submit Content for such use, it may subject you to liability. Twitter will not be responsible or liable for any use of your Content by Twitter in accordance with these Terms. You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content that you submit.
        Twitter gives you a personal, worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to use the software that is provided to you by Twitter as part of the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling you to use and enjoy the benefit of the Services as provided by Twitter, in the manner permitted by these Terms.”

  8. UbranDecayChris:

    Where in the Twitter TOS does it say they can do whatever they want with the images? I don’t see it. I do see it in the Facebook TOS, but the news agencies would still have to strike a deal with FB. They couldn’t just steal the pictures from his Facebook fanpage.

    In this case there has been no ‘deal’ with Twitter. Just a plain stealing of the images from his account.

    Any picture that doesn’t say otherwise has to be treated like it’s all rights reserved. Of course, news agencies love lifting/using reader photos, but they also know that I’ve the picture hasn’t been been submitted to them willingly, they’re taking a risk. Sometimes that risk pays off with the news outlet being the first with picture’s of the situation, other times they run into a professional and they have to pay.

    The problem isn’t that mr. Morel posted the pictures on twitter, it’s that the news agencies usually get away with theft.

  9. Laurence zankowski

    I would research how many times Twitter’s ToS has changed since it went from private beta to public use, and what if any events precipitated such changes. See if there has been a oh oh moment that Twitter’s legal came in and re wrote the ToS. Just a thought.

  10. Actually, NO images are posted on Twitter itself, so the Twitter TOS are moot.

    Twitter only allows text in 140 character bursts, and the only thing posted to Twitter itself is a link to images – the images are hosted on various services, each with their own TOS (ie: TwitPic, Yfrog, Flickr, a photographers’ own site, etc.).

  11. Morel’s case should be a no brainer however with the very selfishly worded TOS for web social sites you put your work at risk. Morel threw the dice and the results were not what he thought they were going to be.

    I really wold like to know what the results were.

  12. on a personal note . i would like to think when this was happening that he as Haitian photographer he was thinking first about getting what was happening out to the world more-so then thinking someone is about to steal my images.

  13. Morel posted them to TwitPic, technically (read the linked article), and Twitter only contains the link, as mentioned above.

    From TwitPic’s terms of use:
    “Using any data from Twitpic (including images, data from images and/or users) that is not available through authorized channels is also prohibited unless explicit permission is given. Storing, saving and/or retaining images of any size is also prohibited.”

    It’s pretty explicit. Indeed, lawyers will split hairs, but saying that “he apparently overlooked the the applicable terms and conditions of posting images on Twitter” is diverting attention away from the fact that Twitter never had the pics.