Licensing News Photographs Off Twitter & Instagram, Is This The Future Of Instant Media?
When scooping other sources, being the first is king. Everyone knows that and the race is constantly moving faster and faster to do so.
There has been some buzz around companies like CrowdMedia, Scoopshot, Rawporter and Blotter whose sole purpose is to get imagery out to major news outlets that have been scraped off of Twitter and Instagram.
Boasting that you can make money off of this service really puts a bad taste in my mouth. I get that being fast and responsive to breaking news stories can have an important roll and I sort of see how this could make for breaking news coverage which happens in a remote location or in an inaccessible area. But where does finding socially searchable photographs and newsworthy images begin and end? There has to be a line drawn somewhere and someone, somehow needs to act as a filter or editor and make sure that all of these images that are being pushed to major news outlets have validity. I in no way think that facts need to be censored, I do feel that these companies are trying to make a quick buck from certain situations and in my opinion feels kinda scummy.
I decided to a quick search on CrowdMedia and see what could dig up. First thing I searched for was “Photo of the day” which happened to be something I put out on Twitter 4 hours prior to writing this post. Sure enough, there it was, the photo of slumping balloons hanging in my studio that I posted on my Twitter account, ready to have someone contact me incase they want to license the photo. I certainly did not sign up for this, add this service to my account or in any way decide to have this show up in the results.
Yet there it is. Ready for someone to buy it if they want, or screen grab it…
It is a pile of balloons, I get it, it is no big deal, let’s move on. Now imagine if that was someone who did not want to be on this site or had no clue there were on this website search. Maybe a face in the background of something that a random stranger took and uploaded shows up here, what then? Does it get edited out? Though I stopped searching after finding this image, I can only imagine you can find other content that most people will not approve of being on this site, all conveniently packaged in a nice search function at the top of the website.
Just something to think about.
I would like to know what you think about this. Is it a good thing to have a service that scrapes images from social media sites and pushes the photos onto other sources and give the camera operator a small cut?