Agence France-Presse stunned the Twitter-sphere last month when the wire service defended itself against a copyright claim brought by Daniel Morel, a photographer who captured iconic images of the Haiti earthquake, by saying that the photos were essentially free for the taking because they’d been shared over Twitter and TwitPic. Tweeting photographers can rest easy, because now a court has ruled that AFP isn’t off the hook, and will have to answer for its unauthorized use of Morel’s images.
The case was closely watched because it was one of the first legal tests of the rules around news agencies’ use of content from Twitter, which has become an increasingly important component of breaking-news coverage…
…AFP had claimed that it had broad re-use rights because of Twitter’s terms of service. “This broad re-use is evidenced every day when Twitter/TwitPic posts are copied, reprinted, quoted, and republished by third parties,” wrote AFP’s lawyers.