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TwitPic Under Fire

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Source: Net Magazine

Image-sharing service slammed regarding rights controversy responds with ‘clarification’.

TwitPic found itself at the centre of a copyright storm in updating its terms to seemingly claim ownership over uploaded content. Founder Noah Everett soon apologised on the TwitPic blog, and in a post entitled “Your content, your copyrights” said users “retain all copyrights” to their photos and videos.

The image-sharing service is commonly used to store content uploaded by Twitter clients and felt compelled to amend its terms due to onganisations talking images without permission. However, TwitPic’s tie-up with the WENN news group to syndicate posted images has raised suspicions. The Americal Society of Media Photographers told .net it “noted the uncomponsated grabbing of rights related to uploaded images that is buried in TwitPic’s terms of service”, and made members aware of the potential consequences of using sites with such terms as opposed to Mobypicture, which has “more photographer-friendly terms”.

ASMP’s statement drew attention to TwitPic’s “extremely broad rights to license, sublicense and otherwise use uploaded images, whether for commercial purposes or not and whether compensated or not, without any obligation to pay anything to the content owners”, while indemnifying the service of any claims. During the incident, rival services clamored to reassure users regarding rights. Mobypicture founder Mathys van Abbe told .net such services should always “be transparent”, and added: “Business with ad-serving models shouild stick to those – why try to earn an extra buck selling other people’s content? Or at least share the income when a mediation role is played.” Writer Harry Marks told us online services should provided policies and terms in “non-lawyer speak” and cited Apple’s recent location-tracking Q&A: “The language in Apple’s document was controversial, but there was no fine print or legal jargon. Apple wanted people to know exactly what was happening to their data. TwitPic and similar services should follow suit.”

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