Recently, Twitpic made a change to their Terms of Service (ToS) that has apparently caused a great deal of confusion, distrust and chatter on the interwebs — what happens to your photos once its been uploaded to a hosting service. We think its a great opportunity for all users of any site in which they share media to be aware of their rights.
Our understanding from colleagues and articles written on the issue at New York Times, Mashable, TechCrunch, the Social Times and The Next Web is that by using our competitor’s site, you grant them permission to license your photos. On the surface, this may not seem like big issue. Or is it?
This change in their ToS basically allows them license the photos that you upload. In fact, by using their service you automatically gave them permission to do so. You do read a site’s Terms of Service before joining, don’t you? Most people don’t which is rather scary in this digital age. In order to monetize this broad permission you’ve granted them, our competitor has signed on an agency to represent them which you can read more about here. The thought process tends to revolve around celebrity photos, however, they have a blanket to license any photo from any user whenever they choose to.
See your photo in a magazine that you never authorized? Good luck. You’ve granted them permission to license your photos. There’s really not much you can do. From what we understand, part of their ToS has a provision to allow them to keep a license for your photo in effect even after you delete it under certain cirumstances. Why? Its your photos. If you want to have it removed, they should comply completely, not partially.
“The agreements always make people nervous, but nothing was done with them,” Mr. Bailey said. “But for a company like Twitpic to come along and say that they can sell your photos, that’s unreasonable.” (Source: The New York Times)
In either case, this change in their terms of service affects celebrities, your friends, your family and everyone you know that use their service. We do not believe in spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. But the implications are rather concerning. At the very least, please take this opportunity to read our TwitrPix – Terms of Service.
A representative for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” said that Ms. DeGeneres, a regular Twitpic user, had not been consulted about the agreement. She added that Ms. DeGeneres would stop using the service. (Source: The New York Times)
We at TwitrPix HQ want to be extremely clear and transparent about how we deal with photo ownership, copyright and licensing. YOU ARE THE SOLE COPYRIGHT HOLDER AND OWNER. YOU ALLOW US TO DISTRIBUTE YOUR PHOTO AS PART OF OUR SERVICE. WE DO NOT LICENSE YOUR PHOTOS TO OTHER PARTIES.
We want to assure you that we will always be as upfront as possible with our users. It’s important for everyone to know that they do have rights and to understand what rights they provide to sites they use, ours included.
- The TwitrPix Team