Copyright Warning!

I was reading today in the most recent Photo Industry Reporter this alarming report – “Many of our customers probably think the photos they’re uploading to  social networking sites like Twitter and Flickr are theirs. They’re not. According to a report from The Next Web, sites like Twitpic, picplz, Color, vFrog, Instagram, Flickr and Lockerz (aka fka Plixi) all stipulate that they have the right to use posted photos for their commercial gain. 
Of course this isn’t usually stipulated up front when the user is signing up for these services. It’s buried in the legalese in the ‘terms of service’. As painful as it is to read a site’s terms of service, it’s really the only way to discover how a website will actually handle photos. 
It seems for now there’s something of a split between how websites handle consumers’ images. The ‘photo’ sites that are designed to store and make prints/merchandise from images (think Shutterfly, Snapfjsh, etc.) are not as interested in harvesting photos to sell to others. But social networking sites and applications like the ones mentioned above are explicit in stating that the photos being uploaded to their servers no longer belong to the uploader. As the Latin phrase famously warns: caveat emptor.”.

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