I think you are missing one important fact in the Morel Case. At the time of the Haiti earthquake, Twitter did not have an image upload / presentation function. Morel had actually posted his images to Twitpic.com, and then included a link in his Twitter post referring the viewer to Twitpic for viewing the image(s). Twitter did not have the image on their servers, so their terms of service (TOS) would not apply to the image (though would have applied to the text on Twitter). In addition, from my reading of the case, there was another Twitter user who downloaded Morel’s images from Twitpic and then reposted them under their own name. It was these images that were subsequently used by AFP and the Washington Post. Granted, the embedding of a current image from Twitter would allow one to hotlink and thus avoid the situation you describe. However, this doesn’t change the result of the Morel vs. AFP case, as the image was not on the Twitter server to start with. For anyone posting images to Twitter, be aware that their service will remove any embedded photo metadata, such as that used to indicate a copyright notice, or the creator. Photojournalists routinely embed captions, location information and ownership information in images they are transmitting or sending to others. The Twitpic service does preserve this information. However, it’s unclear whether Morel’s images did have this info, though I believe from my reading that the images posted by the other user that took them from Morel’s posting did not have this info. Many of the current social media and photo sharing sites do not play well with embedded photo information such as that used to note the owner of an image. If you want to check your own service, or look over the preliminary results of a survey that covers more than 50 services, go to http://www.controlledvocabulary.com/socialmedia for details.
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