Two years ago, we wrote about one of the most bizarre copyright lawsuits we've ever heard of. News giant AFP (Agence France Presse) -- for reasons that I still cannot begin to comprehend -- decided to proactively sue a photographer, Daniel Morel, after it (AFP) had taken his photos (of the earthquake in Haiti) from TwitPic without permission, and distributed them for sale via Getty Images. So why did AFP sue? Because Morel contacted them upon discovering this, demanding lots of money. And what was AFP's reasoning? Well, it tried to claim that Twitter's terms of service allowed this. There were all sorts of problems with that idea. First of all, the photo was on Twitpic, not Twitter, and the two are different companies. But, more importantly, neither of the terms of service from Twitter nor Twitpic (AFP eventually figured out the difference) allowed AFP to do what it claims. The AFP appeared to deliberately misinterpret the terms of service, which simply give Twitpic the right to make use of the images -- but that does not extend to third parties automatically, which is what AFP implied.
Oh, and did we mention that AFP itself has a history of copyright maximalism, including suing Google for merely linking to AFP stories, with AFP's headline showing in Google News?
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