Recently, BBC “credited” several photos of the Tottenham riots to “Twitter.” When reader Andy Mabbett complained, the BBC responded: “Twitter is a social network platform which is available to most people who have a computer… any content on it is not subject to the same copyright laws as it is already in the public domain.” Translation: Pffft. Also, bullshit, and so, BBC apologizes.
A BBC rep clarified that the previous BBC rep had it all wrong. Pillaging social network profiles isn’t customary, unless, of course, newsworthy looting or shooting is afoot, in which case, the major news corporation admits to posting uncleared photos.
Last year, photographer Daniel Morel sued Agency France Presse (AFP) for selling his TwitPic of Haitian earthquake victims to TIME, Getty Images, The New York Times and newspaper front pages across the world, without the photographer’s permission. Thanks to a New York federal judge who wouldn’t throw out the case, the trial’s outcome may tighten up these fuzzy boundaries and re-occurring copyright messes. Until then, if your photography is your bread, best keep it off Twitter.