(Picture from Flickr)

After the London bombings we are all becoming familiar with seeing snaps from passers-by using their increasingly sophisticated mobile phone cameras to take stills or even video of newsworthy events. With so many images out there – many of them with considerable commercial value – the question of who is handling the rights are being asked.

The first stopping place for would-be snaparazzis interested in making their historic pictures available online is to go to one of the many different online picture repositories, such as Moblog or Flickr. These two sites favur the publication of the posted images using a Creative Commons licence. This creates interesting questions, such as the type of licence that is used. For example, if an image of the London bombings is posted in Flickr under a CC non-commercial licence, then all non-commercial sites could post it, but mainstream news outlets could not (unless one considers the BBC to be non-commercial, my head hurts!). The only way would be to a news organisation to negotiate directly with the author to obtain the permission to use it in a commercial setting.

But now, there is another option. Scoopt.com is a Scottish firm that helps snaparazzis negotiate their pictures and videos with news agencies (insert joke about greedy Scots here). Apparently, their cut is 50% (ouch!).

Another rising phenomenon is the picture essay, or picture statement. As far as I know, it all started with the “We’re sorry everybody” site, a collection of pictures of people saying sorry for the Bush election. Most recently, there is the “We’re not afraid” site, a collection of pictures against terrorism. Here is my favourite (from Karine F):


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