Foreign language e-Discovery translation, multilingual evidence translation services and corporate translation services are gathering momentum with the exponential growth of social media. Recently, the Southern District of New York addressed the issue of copyright as it concerns social media. In this particular case, the question involved the use of Twitpic – a social media platform that allows one to post pictures to their Twitter accounts.
Here, Morel, a photographer based in Haiti, took photographs of the wreckage caused by the earthquake and posted them via Twitpic. According to the case, moments after posting the photos, Lisandro Suero copied the photos and posted them on his Twitter feed and stated that he had ‘exclusive photographs from the catastrophe for credit and copyright’. Later, a an editor from Agence France Presse downloaded some photos from Suero’s page and placed them on the agency’s forum, giving Suero credit and then transmitting them to Getty Images. Eventually, Morel sued Agence France Presse for copyright infringement.
Although Agence Presse claimed they had a license under Twitter/Twitpic’s Terms of Service, and that ‘it is a hallmark principal of copyright law that licensors may not sue their licensees for copyright infringement’, the court held that ‘the Terms of Service, by their express language… grant a license to use content only to Twitter and its partners’. Furthermore, the Terms of Service were both vague and in English, with no foreign language translation, thus further augmenting the argument that Morel did not knowingly give Agence Presse or anyone else a license to use his images.
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