PHOTO SHARING WEB SITE Twitpic has caused a bit of excitement on Twitter this morning after changing its terms and conditions to imply that it owns the rights to all your uploaded photos and may sell them to whomever it pleases, without cutting you in on the proceeds.
But not only does Twitpic claim the right to make use of your photos for fun and profit, it thinks it's also entitled to sublet those rights to other companies as it sees fit. It may also produce derivative works from yours and distribute everything to any of its partner web sites.
The move was initially even more ludicrous, with the company refusing to allow users of the service to make money from their own photographs by selling them to photo agencies or interested web sites. The paragraph with that clause in it was quickly removed though, although one keen tweeter has blogged about the whole thing, keeping a cached copy of the original web page.
In order to stem the rage, Twitpic founder and owner Noah Everett posted on his blog a statement that users would always retain their copyrights. You know, the way the law says you do no matter what anyone else says. He doesn't mention anything about earning money from your photos though, suggesting that the clause is still in effect.
As always though, despite claiming the right to sell your photos as it sees fit, Twitpic doesn't want anything to do with you if it all goes wrong. So, take a photo of something that gets you into hot water, and Twitpic's interest in your images disappears faster than ground fog hit by sunlight.
It's interesting to note that Everett was offered more than $10m to sell up last year but he refused. That could be because, according to an interview at mixergy, the web site was already generating at least $1.5m in ad revenue per year as of 2009. So why the sudden desired to own things that he has no real right to? Who knows, but perhaps he's watched The Social Network a few too many times of late. Or maybe he's just gotten greedier recently. µ