Journalism Social Media

Publishers’ battle over tweet taken to U.S. appellate court

Time, Gannett and other news organizations are asking a federal appellate court to decide whether embedding a tweet in a news article can infringe copyright.

The battle centers on a photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady taken in July 2016 by Goldman. He uploaded the picture to Snapchat, following which other users posted the photo to Twitter. After the photo appeared on Twitter, news sites including those operated by Time, Gannett, Breitbart and Yahoo embedded the Tweet in articles.

Goldman sued the news companies for alleged copyright infringement. The publishers unsuccessfully asked Forrest to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that they didn’t “display” Goldman’s photo for purposes of copyright law, because the embedded images were hosted on Twitter’s servers.

Now the case has been taken a step further because the judge has ruled, crucially, that the location of the server hosting the image is not the determining issue. This has major ramifications for publishers who could be repeatedly challenged for infringing copyright across many of their media properties when embedding tweets and other social media posts.

The news organizations are now asking the 2nd Circuit to decide whether publishers can be liable for displaying a photo when the image resides on an outside company’s server.

More updates as and when we receive them.

Further reading:

MediaPostNews Sites Take Battle Over Tweet To Appellate Court  (April 2018)

The Verge: Embedding a tweet could be copyright infringement, says new court ruling (Feb 2018)

ReutersN.Y. judge says embedded tweets may violate copyrights (Feb 2018)


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