Online Photo Sharing Thoughts

Just recently there’s been some concern about online image ownership. This subject seems to be on a never-ending roundabout thanks to image sharing sites changing their terms & conditions of usage as well as others (notably TwitPic) being bought up, which almost inevitably leads to a change in the terms of service anyway.

This is partly why I created this site to begin with, so I’d have complete control of everything relating to my photographs, and it’s also why I use Flickr.

Flickr seems to understand that to have a successful image sharing community you shouldn’t take any rights away from the people that would like to use your service.
Here’s Flickr’s take on it, in it’s own words.

I’m not against using other online distribution methods to get my images seen, but I do think it’s important that I don’t give up any rights relating to those images whilst doing that.

I recently read an article titled ‘Why Photographers Should Love Twitter’.
I use Twitter (@SFGPhoto) and the TwitPic service, so when I heard that TwitPic had been bought obviously I was concerned about what impact this would have on the terms of usage, and sure enough the new owners are granted an exclusive right to sell images posted using the TwitPic service.
It’s only through the purchase of TwitPic that I learned the same company also owns another Twitter image posting service, Plixi, with very similar terms of use.
What TwitPic users (and possibly Plixi users) may not be aware of is that the agreement to hand over distribution rights to WENN is retro-active, so it’s not just future images this applies to, it’s all the images that they’ve ever shared using the service.
WENN claims not to be interested in “99.99999999%” of the images posted, but still, it can and probably will use any image that it wants to, and it doesn’t have to give you a credit or payment for the privilege.

All this just goes to show that you really should look at the terms and conditions of any image sharing site you use if you value your rights concerning your work.


Related articles
At Flickr, your photos are always yoursFlickr
Photo agency’s CEO addresses TwitPic controversy
Photographers Lose out in Twitter pics money-SpinnerAmateur Photographer
Twitter users angered by Twitpic changes as they lose rights to picturesMetro
TwitPic can sell your pics, despite copyright apologyAmateur Photographer
Why Photographers Should Love TwitterDigital Photography School

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