Morel vs AFP copyright verdict.
Just read an interesting article on copyright of photos http://www.pdnonline.com/news/Morel-v-AFP-Copyrig-9598.shtml
Essentially the key point is that although images uploaded to Twitter are freely available for re-distribution by other Twitter users under their terms of service. This does not make the image public domain and freely distributable. So Getty were break the Law by selling the images to other people outside of Twitter.
Whilst this relates to American Law I’d be interested to see if a similar case can be made in England.
Additionally reading through the comment thread. Alfonso Bresciani makes a good point.
You don’t have to put a watermark But if you do: Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act makes it illegal for someone to remove the watermark from your photo so that it can disguise the infringement when used. The fines start at $2500 and go to $25,000 in addition to attorneys’ fees and any damages for the infringement.
You can read the copyright act yourself here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1202
Watermark images to make copyright clear.
In this day and age publishing our work online is essential. If someone steals an image then we may have a fight on our hands to prove the image wasn’t public domain. However by watermarking each image the copyright becomes clear and it’s illegal for someone to remove it.