Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Protect your photographs: Read your gallery and online storage companies' terms of service!

Twitter LogoDo you use Twitter, the real-time information network which can permit you to connect to others to offer them timely information, news and data they might find useful?

Do you share photos or videos via your Twitter feed? Where do you store your photos and videos in order to share them via Twitter? Do you use TwitPic in order to share those photos and videos?

If you've answered yes, my advice to you is simply, dump TwitPic, and immediately delete your photos and videos from the storage service!

In May, World Entertainment News Network (WENN), a news and photo agency, announced it had become the “exclusive photo agency partner” of Twitpic, one of the companies on the Internet which provide a service which allows users to upload images and video to it, then link them to their users' Twitter feed.
The deal allows the World Entertainment News Network to sell the images and videos stored at Twitpic for publication.

Coupled with that deal, Twitpic changed their terms of service, which now reads in part,
“… 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.”
 What does that mean to you?

The deal consummated between WENN and Twitpic, simply means that anything you post on Twitpic can be sold or licensed for a profit without you knowing about it, or receiving any compensation for your work whatsoever.

By staying at Twitpic, you're giving WENN and Twitpic the right to use your photos and videos anyway they want and get paid for it.

And how much do you make when your photos and videos are licensed or sold by WENN?

Zero, nothing, nada, zip, not one thin dime!

If I were you, if you're a Twitpic user, I'd dump the service after I deleted each and every file you ever uploaded to them. That's exactly what talk show host Ellen Degeneres has done.

Then before you sign up with anyone else to store your photos, read their terms of service, and whenever they make changes to it, read it all over again, to make sure you know what you're doing.

By the way, Twitter now lets you upload images directly to them for sharing via its service, but I would think twice before using them. The Twitter terms are just as oppressive and burdensome as Twitpic's.

Twitter states in their terms of service, in part,
“…to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services…”
I hope this get you to start reading those “Terms of Service” you've usually ignored.


Jeff in NYC said...

I have been using Twitpic and knew nothing about this. I guess I have to start reading these terms for now on. I may not be a pro, but this grab is outrageous. As soon as I post this comment, I'm dumping these people!!!

Susan in NY said...

Thanks for the post Ned. I just deleted my photos at Twitpic and resigned my account after reading your article.

Jane in Denver said...

I had watched Ellen's show when she was talking about how angry she was with Twitpic. I'm happy someone is publicizing this on the net and for photographers. I've been surprised no on was talking about it. Twitpic are nothing but thieves as far as I'm concerned.

Sol said...

What chutzpah Twitpic has. It's outrageous. I'm dumping them today, right after I delete my photos.

Jon said...

How can they do that? Isn't that illegal. Those photos are copyrighted. How can they take the photos just because of where they were uploaded?

Someone needs to complain to the Justice Department!!!

Adrian said...

Twitpic might have miscalculated. If enough people realize what a rights grab this is, they could loose most of their customers and be forced to cease business. They'd deserve that fate too.

Will said...

I hope they do go out of business. People didn't put their photos on Twitpic for someone else to make money on them at their expense.

Sara said...

I just deleted my photos and I deleted my account at Twitpic. Good riddance to bad trash.

Char said...

What arrogance! We now know that Twitpic is nothing more than a bunch of "twits!"

Paul in Portland - Maine that is. said...

Thank goodness you're publicizing this Ned. Thanks. I've just deleted my photos and account too.

Susan said...

You and Ellen make a good team on this Ned. Thanks.

James said...

Ned, I had to read your article several times before I could believe the gall of Twitpic. I never used them, but know serveral people who have and have emailed them a link to your blog.

Thanks for providing a great service, through your blog to the photography community.

Kate said...

Geez, what an unbelievable story of corporate greed. Thanks for enlightening us Ned.

Alice said...

I got bored of Twitter a while back and canceled my account with Twitpic. If I hadn't, I certainly would have done so after reading your article Ned. Thanks.

Marshall said...

This kind of thing make me very angry. I don't understand this kind of greed. It's way beyond good business.

Vic said...

What an amazing story of corporate greed! Thanks for alerting us Ned.

Thomas said...

What was the BOD smoking when they let these changes through? Did they think the changes would have no adverse consequences? Did they think their customers would allow them to steal their work merely with the stroke of a few keys?

I'm with Ned and Ellen. Get the heck out, which I did earlier today.

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