We’ll find out, pending Daniel Morel’s court case against Agency France Presse (AFP) for using his photo of the Haiti earthquake disaster that he uploaded to TwitPic in January. AFP sold it to Getty, the New York Times, TIME and the front pages of other papers across the world, without permission or payment.
When the photographer sent AFP cease and desist letters for copyright infringement, they sued him, postulating that TwitPic and Twitter are a free for all, and since everyone else is doing it, as a third party, they can use and republish whatever they want. In their view, uploading is licensing.
Even more ridiculous: For a long time, AFP credited Daniel Morel’s photos to AFP/Getty/Lisandro Suero. Who’s Lisandro Suero? Some guy who re-TwitPic’d the photo. AFP knew their error, but had to be forced to amend it.
The good news: a federal judge in New York decided not to throw out Daniel Morel’s copyright claim, despite AFP’s wishes. This is just a pre-trial victory, so we’ll see how the story develops.
But by all means, don’t let it stop you. TwitPic on. Hashtag away. That is, if your livelihood doesn’t depend on licensing fees.