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UPDATE: No On TwitPic And yfrog

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Shermeee / Flickr

UPDATE (June 6, 4:03 p.m.): Here’s what I’ve decided to do with my photos online.

UPDATE (May 24, 11:02 p.m.): The post below is almost completely wrong. Kathy Gill explains why:

yfrog is a fancy name for ImageShack; its TOS also implies that using the service grants ImageShack a license to reuse your photographs, even if this clause is listed under “privacy”. (That’s an eyebrow-raising place to stick this.)

“Any media that you submit to Imageshack may be redistributed throughout the Imageshack network of sites, the internet, and other media channels, which may include third-party advertisers.”

Ugh.

So now I’m thinking of either Flickr or Tumblr, or some combination of both, which is mostly what I’ve been doing lately anyway.

Here’s the main thing: Generally speaking, all my photos are OK to use and to remix, so long as you credit me by name (Paul Balcerak) and link back to the permalink where you found the photo. Any service that tries to circumvent that statement or place additional caveats on it is not one that I’ll be using.

Here’s the original post. I’m keeping it as-is, but please keep in mind that I’m no longer considering yfrog an alternative:

TwitPic’s plan to allow an agency of some sort to sell the rights to users’ photos on their behalf has me seriously considering jumping to yfrog or another service.

Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman has the backstory:

Twitpic changed its terms of service to crack down on media republication of images, even telling users they couldn’t grant a license for reuse of their own Twitpic photos (though the company retreated from that position under criticism). …

Twitpic then announced it would allow an agency to exclusively sell media companies the rights to use photos, saying it intended to sell images published by unspecified “celebrities.” (I tried to reach Twitpic founder Noah Everett andothers at Twitpic for comment but have not received a response.)

I understand TwitPic’s desire to protect some of its unsuspecting users (read: those who would have their photos taken by the mass media without ever noticing it) and to perhaps turn a profit. However, as an occasional user of TwitPic, I have to say No Thanks.

I want control over the photos that I’ve taken — I don’t think that’s asking too much. I should be able to license my photos to anyone I want to, and I shouldn’t have to worry about my photos being licensed out by a third party to someone who I don’t want to give my license to.

Furthermore, with regard to this:

As we’ve grown, Twitpic has been a tool for the spread of breaking news and events. Since then we’ve seen this content being taken without permission and misused. We’ve partnered with organizations to help us combat this and to distribute newsworthy content in the appropriate manner.

…I can decide on my own what constitutes “an appropriate manner.”

I haven’t deleted my TwitPic account just yet and I’m not rushing to my phone to do so, but I probably will switch to yfrog next time I’m messing around with the settings in my Twitter app. Their Terms of Service appear to be more in line with what I’m looking for than TwitPic’s:

  • “You own the content that you upload.”
  • “You may revoke (yfrog’s permission to use your photos) at any time by requesting your content to be removed. Such requests will be processed within a maximum period of 24 hours (but usually as short as one hour).”
  • “ImageShack will not sell or distribute your content to third parties or affiliates without your permission.”

Lastly, since I think TwitPic is a good service and I have no problem with them trying to make money, here are a few things that I think would be good alternatives to what they’re currently proposing:

  • Keyword-targeted ads: Skim the keywords contained within each TwitPic post (the Tweet text that goes with the photo) and use it to point people to relevant ads. Admittedly, this could backfire, dangerously, from a PR standpoint.
  • Wallpaper ads: If I’m not mistaken, these generally sell for more than any other type of ad. I know some people don’t like them, but I actually prefer them.
  • Paid subscriptions: Offer people an ad-free experience if they pay to use TwitPic. Toss in a few other advanced features (like embeddable slideshows or customizable profile designs) just for good measure.

What do you think: Are you switching from TwitPic?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • How about a cut of profits of any cool picture of mine that gets used. It doesn’t have to be 50/50 or anything crazy like that but a few bucks via PayPal would have me use the service even MORE.

    If this is how it stands, I’ll say, “No thanks,” too.

  • Root

    Um….where does yfrog Terms of Service say what you said?

    This page http://yfrog.com/page/tos says “The content that you distribute through the ImageShack Network is owned by you, and you give ImageShack permission to display and distribute said content exclusively on the ImageShack Network.”

    Seems to me that just means that yfrog will allow you to share them online, which is the point of uploading pics right?

  • Pingback: Here’s Who Really Owns Your Photos | paulbalcerak.com()

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