Some time ago I wrote a little something about how Google and Facebook (and then some photo competitions) had some dubious paragraphs in their terms and conditions which allowed them to basically do with what they want with the images you upload to their server/service.
I’ve always been careful to the point of paranoia when it comes to these kind of things, which is why I don’t upload any images (of significance) to for example Facebook, or if I do they are so small (and/or with a big fat watermark across) that no one can do anything with them.
I also don’t have a TwitPic account. Not for that particular reason, although right now that might just become the reason.
Three weeks ago TwitPic has sneakily changed their terms and conditions in regards to the image material uploaded to their website.
Since May 10th they’ve added/modified a paragraph that reads:
You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
Of course the people who DO read the Terms and keep an eye on what’s changing immediately started demanding some clarification about what the hell is going, after which TwitPic replied the following with a blog post:
We recently made changes to our terms of service that has caused some confusion for our users. First off I want to apologize for that confusion and our lack of clarity. We’ve updated our terms again to be more clear and to also show that you still own your content.
Our goal with Twitpic from the beginning has been to create the best way to share your photos and videos on Twitter and to always keep our user’s best interest at the forefront.
To clarify our ToS regarding ownership, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos and videos, it’s your content. Our terms state by uploading content to Twitpic you allow us to distribute that content on twitpic.com and our affiliated partners. This is standard among most user-generated content sites (including Twitter). If you delete a photo or video from Twitpic, that content is no longer viewable.
As we’ve grown, Twitpic has been a tool for the spread of breaking news and events. Since then we’ve seen this content being taken without permission and misused. We’ve partnered with organizations to help us combat this and to distribute newsworthy content in the appropriate manner. This has been done to protect your content from organizations who have in the past taken content without permission. As recently as last month, a Twitpic user uploaded newsworthy images of an incident on a plane, and many commercial entities took the image from Twitpic and used it without the user’s permission.
To sum everything up, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos/videos and we are very sorry by the confusion our old updated terms of service caused.
So they sneakily emphasize that you DO retain the copyright to all your work, but they fail to inform the users about the deal they made with for example a News Agency.
TwitPic has indeed been known to be the source of a good number of news worthy images, but now it seems that they’ve caught up with the moneymaking machine and are going to cash in on what the users are uploading to their services, without actually compensating the users for it.
Now does that sound fair to you?
If you ARE using TwitPic, make sure you put a big watermark across the image, so that everyone knows that the image they’re looking at is yours.