Over on @Storify, I’ve responded to a tweet about TwitPic’s Terms of Service:
IA Were you aware that, as of May 4th, by using TwitPic you give them the rights to sell your photos? http://twitpic.com/terms.do I’m out.
It’s clear that TwitPic is asserting a licensing arrangement as part of its Terms of Service. What’s not clear is how egregious it is (I am not a lawyer) or how it compares to other free image hosting services. This post compares TOS across three services: TwitPic, yfrog and Plixi (Lockerz).
The TwitPic TOS does not assert copyright but does assert that using its service is a licensing arrangement (emphasis added):
You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
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.
Plixi is now Lockerz; its TOS seems to be the most draconian (emphasis added):
This Website and the content and all intellectual property rights included in or associated with the Website, including, but not limited to patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, logos and Decalz™ (collectively “Content”), are owned or licensed by us, and all right, title and interest in and to the Website and Content remains with us or our licensors, as applicable.
I cannot find anything in the TOS that speaks specifically to the copyright of those who upload content to the site.
Based on this admittedly quick-and-dirty comparison, the TwitPic TOS looks middle-of-the-road.
I can’t find anything in the Flickr terms of service that speaks to licensing or reuse of customer content. However, Yahoo does make ownership clear:
Photos and/or images found on Yahoo! Images or Flickr are the property of the users that posted them. Yahoo! cannot grant permission to use third party content. Please contact the user directly.