Manhattan District Judge, Alison Nathan, ruled that Agence France-Presse and The Washington Post have infringed on the copyrights of photographer Daniel Morel.
Copyright is a sensitive subject, especially on the web. All websites have different policies when it comes to content, so users really need to read the Terms of Service before sharing anything on these websites.
Usually, all hell breaks loose when sites have to deal with copyright infringement. Photos and videos come into discussion, as users expect to still own the rights to the shared content.
Problems go deeper when two major press organizations come after you. Thankfully, there are judges out there who do not care how big you are. In Daniel Morel’s case against AFP and The Washington Post, the photographer has won and the press organizations have been found guilty of copyright infringement.
The two press agencies were found guilty of using Daniel Morel’s tweeted photographs without his permission, according to reuters.com. The judge partially granted the photographer’s judgment motion, but she also limited the damages he could recover. The case gathered worldwide interest, being one of the first to center on the copyrights of public shared images.
Daniel Morel shot a couple of pictures in the Haiti earthquake’s aftermath, back in 2010, and posted them on Twitter. The case started when Agence France-Presse and The Washington Post filed a law suit against photographer Daniel Morel.
The action was taken when the photographer accused the two agencies of using his images without his consent. As a result, Morel counter-sued AFP and The Washington Post for copyright infringement.
Manhattan district Judge, Alison Nathan ruled that AFP and The Washington Post should not have used the images without Morel’s acceptance, even if Twitter is a public site. She backed her decision by arguing that rebroadcasting of users’ images, such as “retweeting” them, does not necessarily make that material fit for third party commercial use. In addition, Twitter stated:
“As has always been our policy, Twitter users own their photos.”
The case is yet to continue, as several other matters remain unattended and will be decided at a later trial.