News outlets improperly used photos posted to Twitter: judge

A judge has found that two news organisations improperly used images that a photojournalist had posted to Twitter in one of the first big tests of intellectual property law involving social media.

Agence France-Presse and The Washington Post infringed on the copyrights of photographer Daniel Morel in using pictures he took in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan ruled.

While AFP had argued that once the pictures appeared on Twitter they were freely available, the judge said that Twitter’s terms of service did not give the news agency a license to publish the images without Morel’s permission.

The judge, in a decision released late Monday, partially granted Morel’s summary judgement motion but also limited damages he could potentially recover. Several other issues in the case were left to be decided at trial. A trial date has not been set — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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