10.21.2010

Twitter: All Photos Are NOT Belong To Us

Getting After It
This is not Twitter's property.
Recently there has been a bit of a furor over a post by one Scott Bourne, a fairly famous (and famously abrasive) photographer, regarding Twitter's Terms of Service in regards to ownership rights, exclusivity and content. Basically, the post said that Twitter's ToS agreement followed Facebook's way, way over reaching power grabs, that any media posted across Twitter's site becomes the property of Twitter to do with what they like including selling them and keeping the profits for themselves.

In the case of a tweet about finding a kitty cat in a box by your front door this is not such a big deal. But in the case of someone making their living (or supplementing it) with digital media such as a photographer, musician or videographer, this could be an absolute game changer. I am merely a semi-pro photographer and there's no way I'm signing over any rights to my photos to anyone without proper compensation.

As usually happens in these cases, the investigative photographer got it wrong. Badly wrong. And I'm reminded of why I stopped following Scott Bourne on Twitter. And why I continue to follow and appreciate posts by Petapixel, who breaks down the post, the ToU and why digital media types need not worry (besides the fact that Twitter isn't anywhere near close to being as evil and douchebaggy as Facebook is).

The crux of the issue regards the definition of content. Bourne presumed content to mean any media crossing Twitter's servers. The reality is that content, according to Twitter, is anything stored on Twitter servers, that is, tweets and possibly digital media at some point in the future (apparently there was a short lived Twitter photo hosting service, yes, Twitter does have rights to anything posted there).

Here, go and read Michael's (that's Petapixel's real name) post: Twitter Photo Rights Controversy is Much Ado About Nothing which was partially compiled from ReadWriteWeb's Twitter Gets to Use Your Photos, for Free? (Updated)

This issue highlights another problem, that is that Scott Bourne refuses to allow any discussion that isn't in complete agreement with him. That is, agree with him or he will block you, probably delete your comments and pretend like he's still right. His perspective is wrong and his attitude is misguided though his intentions are still good (protecting his intellectual property from dilution and royalty free distributions).

In the end, I'll keep posting links to my photos I post (and host) on Flickr or other sites.

This post has been cross-posted to my IP Photography blog as well.
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