Fears have escalated that photos posted on Twitter will be sold to third parties without the photographer?s permission ? a danger exposed by Amateur Photographer (AP) four months ago.
In January, we reported that photos posted on the microblogging website by ordinary members of the public – depicting a breaking news story for example – could end up in newspapers and on media websites, earning money for entertainment picture agency WENN, but with no fee for the photographer.
WENN had just signed an agreement with Plixi (since renamed Lockerz), a service that enables Twitter users to share their images, allowing WENN to charge a third party for publishing pictures taken by celebrities.
Speaking in January, WENN chief executive Lloyd Beiny did not rule out selling on other types of Twitter images to the wider media, such as pictures of a breaking news story, if it were brought to its attention, whether taken by a celebrity or not.
Its revised terms state that Twitpic can ?distribute that content on twitpic.com and to our affiliated partners?, though the firm has since insisted that users ?retain all copyrights? to their photos and videos.
The news sparked a front page headline in today?s Metro newspaper which states ?Twitter users lose rights to pictures?.
Metro reported that some users have threatened to boycott Twitpic as a result.
Beiny today branded the story ?scaremongering?.
However, concerns intensified further when it was announced that WENN has struck a deal with Twitpic, similar to its existing agreement with Plixi.
In an interview with AP, Beiny stressed that the agreement only applies to pictures taken by a ?limited number of celebrities,? and not images uploaded by the general public.
However, he refused to say how many celebrities are involved in the deal. Neither would he comment on Twitpic?s own terms of service.
?We are not after 99.9% of pictures,? he claimed.
?A lot of fuss is being made about nothing?They [Twitpic users] don?t lose their rights, they own the copyright.?
Beiny declined to comment on WENN?s current agreement with Plixi which – as we revealed earlier this year ? appears to give the news agency the right to chose whether to use photos uploaded by members of the public.
In January he told us: ‘It [the agreement with Plixi] applies to all pictures but unless it is something really exceptional it is unlikely we would be interested in anything other than a celebrity,’ he told us.