Twitter’s new image upload feature & your rights

Images in TweetsYesterday, Twitter launched its own image uploading service, which competes directly with TwitPic, yFrog and the like. Whilst this is all very interesting for those guys, one of the important things to know about before making use of this service is what rights you have to any images you upload. Remember the fuss when TwitPic changed their terms of service so that they effectively own your content.

Fortunately, from the point of view of amateur photographers and professionals all over, Twitter looks like it is maintaining its existing copyright policy, whereby the submitter maintains copyright over any content.

The full terms page is here, but here are the salient parts, with comment:

“You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

You keep your rights over your content, but as far as the use of it on Twitter goes, you don’t have a say.

So far, so straightforward. The next part I am quoting in full:

“You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter 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, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.

“Tip – Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your content. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. But what’s yours is yours – you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content).

“Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.”

This is one place to signal caution – whilst you do retain the rights over any imagery, Twitter are allowed to make use of it to their advantage, and you’re not entitled to claim a slice of any pie.