Twitter pictures put in spotlight following London helicopter crash

Last Wednesday's helicopter crash was just half a mile from our offices, and the first that we heard about it was on Twitter. That's also where the first pictures and videos from the scene appeared...

The rolling news coverage from Sky and the BBC showed loops of videos that passers-by had posted on YouTube and shared on Twitter, and the online articles used pictures again from passers-by who had posted them on Twitter. Even the evening papers had user-generated images splashed across their front pages.

If these pictures were from an official source such as the Associated Press, the media companies would have paid hundreds maybe even thousands of pounds for this content. But most of them won't have paid a penny in the first instance, because of the breaking nature of the story and the instant availability of the content on Twitter. But times are changing, because recent legal cases have shown that individual users DO OWN their content, and that means that media companies shouldn't take the content without permission, accreditation and payment.

Churches and charities aren't exempt from these rules. You can't simply take an image from Twitter, or a video from YouTube, and use it in your work, whether on your website, in a document or in print. Always check with the user first - more often that not they will be perfectly happy to work with you, and might have a wider and higher quality library of images for you to choose from. It doesn't hurt to ask...

- The inspiration for this article originally appeared on the Guardian Online click here to view the original article. And yes, we do have permission for this picture!

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