The Social Media Loophole That Means Your Content Is Up For Grabs

Terms of service.

Natalie Shoebridge

5 September 2017

Natalie Shoebridge

Article heading image for The Social Media Loophole That Means Your Content Is Up For Grabs

Twitter has announced that there are changes on the way in its terms of service, which has sparked some debate online about the way the site can use content posted.

Chiefly, this statement about image usage and rights is in focus.

By submitting, posting or displaying content on or through the services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sub-license) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such content in any and all media distribution methods. This license authorises us to make your content available to the rest of the world and let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote and improve the services and to make content submitted to or through the services available to other companies, organisations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such content on the other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organisations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the service.


However, these aren't radical changes, with it being more of a case of people being unaware of the terms of service when they signed up.

Professor of Intellectual Property at QUT Matthew Rimmer told Triple M that this is a pretty stock-standard inclusion for social media terms of service.

"There's been a long history of battles in copyright law in regards to social media," Mr Rimmer said.

"I think there has been a misunderstanding in popular media about the nature of the change of the terms of service.

"That clause is there so that Twitter has some protection against claims in relations to copyright infringement. In some ways it's quite typical of user agreements in relation to social media, and it raises a question about whether this is a fair deal.

"There are still questions in terms of what happens when third parties use content on Twitter."

The new terms of service is in place from October 2 for countries outside the US.

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