The blogosphere is all aTwitter over the fact that a photographer on Haiti, seemingly without options for getting his remarkable images out, opted to use Twitter to do so. (PDNPulse - here).
When Agence France Presse (AFP) published those images, and, yes, profited from their distribution as did all their subscribers, the photographer got mad, because he was not profiting from the images, as he should have. Or should he?
The Terms and Conditions for the use of Twitter grants Twitter the right to redistrubute without payments to the originating party, whatever passes through their system, but apparently the photographer didn't read the terms for the service he used? Instead, the photographer should have built up the necessary infrastructure and had it at the ready (Sat phone, anyone?). For example, I have the necessary equipment to traverse a blizzard, get around during the aftermath of a hurricane, and reduntant communications systems both in the office and on location in the event of system outages.
Arguments by the photographer that he didn't read the terms of service should fall on just as deaf a set of ears as the arguments that are made by clients who say they shouldn't be held to the terms of our delivery memos, contracts, or embedded-metadata restrictions on our images. "Officer, I didn't see the speed limit posted..." is not a valid excuse.
It's unfortunate here, but just as most photographers don't read the heinous wire-service contracts that freelancers are signing because they're non-negotiable, so too, are they making mistakes when posting images on free services with onerous terms and conditions.
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