As noted in an earlier post on TechRazor, in the online realm website and app terms and conditions merit barely a yawn from most users. Interesting then that a recent business deal announced last month between Twitpic and World Entertainment News (WEN) garnered so much pushback from the Twittersphere. Under the deal, WEN was designated as Twitpic’s exclusive photo agency partner.
The catch for users of Twitpic, an immensely popular application used to attach pictures to Twitter posts, is that the fine print of the user terms grants broad rights to Twitpic to pretty much do whatever Twitpic desires with uploaded images, including to profit off of them. Specifically:
“By uploading content to Twitpic you give Twitpic permission to use or distribute your content on Twitpic.com or affiliated sites. . . . [B]y 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.”
Twitter users, especially professional photographers, rebelled and WEN’s CEO did not really help the situation by later stating that WEN was only interested in photos posted by celebrity users. So, sometimes the fine print contains traps for the unwary that can snag many.
For more on this tempest, see Joshua Brustein’s recent piece about this in the NY Times and a follow up piece a week or so later by Paul Boutin.