Law360 Guest Article: Using Images From Social Media: 3 Lessons From AFP Case


Can organizations take images from a social media site and use them elsewhere without asking permission? Over a year ago, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York said "no," and in November, a jury awarded the photographer in that case $1.22 million for the infringing use. The verdict should ring alarm bells to media companies — and any company that uses images — about the potential pitfalls of relying on social media as a source for images.

The recent case of Agence France-Presse v. Morel should change perceptions of what is acceptable when it comes to pulling content from social media. It began with a tragedy on a massive scale when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and killed nearly a quarter of a million people, and it ended with a large verdict for a photographer, whose images of the crisis were lifted from the internet by a photo agency and sold around the world without his permission.

Photojournalist Daniel Morel was one of the first photographers to capture the devastation after the 2010 quake. Morel posted the images online using a service called “TwitPic,” a social media service which allows users to easily display photographs on Twitter.

Excerpted from Law360, February 25, 2014. To read the full article, click on the PDF linked below.

PDF - Using Images from Social Media - Lessons from the AFP Case.pdf

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