A closely-watched trial between a photographer who covered the 2010 Haiti earthquake and two large news companies ended on Friday, with a jury awarding Daniel Morel $1.2 million, according to reliable reports from Manhattan’s federal court.
The case is important because it has helped to establish rules for the use of photos in the age of social media, when a single image can be rapidly republished thousands of times.
The dispute began after news agency Agence France-Presse saw the “exclusive photos” of the disaster on Twitter, and shared them with Getty Images and the Washington Post, which in turn posted the pictures to the Post’s website. It soon emerged that the photos did not belong to the Twitter user who had posted them, but instead to Morel (AFP posted a “kill notice” but Getty disregarded it).
Early in 2013, a federal judge rejected the media outlets’ arguments that Twitter’s terms…
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