Landmark Twitter case faults AFP, Washington Post over photo usage

A New York judge today ruled in favor of a photographer challenging the media's publication of his tweeted images in an important test case for sites like Twitter.

A New York judge today ruled that Agence-France Press and the Washington Post violated a photojournalist's rights by using the images he posted on Twitter, according to Law360.

In a groundbreaking case for social media, the case "Agence France Presse v. Morel" saw US District Judge Alison J. Nathan rule in favor of photographer Daniel Morel in a New York court today, said the report

Her decision supported Morel but limited the amount of damages awarded him, said Reuters.

Nathan ruled that the reposting or dissemination of pictures by professional photographers on sites like Twitter does not give the media grounds for commercial use. 

Morel had posted pictures he took of the earthquake in Haiti images on Twitter back in 2010, where an AFP editor saw them and sent them over to Getty Images, which led to their publication in the Washington Post, said Reuters, citing case materials. 

AFP was the first to advance the case, seeking copyright protection, but was countersued by Morel, said Reuters

The photographer also demanded "tens or hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages, according to court documents cited by Reuters, but the judge said AFP and Getty would only be subject to a single statutory damage based on each image.