The BBC’s fundamental misunderstanding of copyright
On 6 August, I sent a complaint to the BBC:
Your reporting of this evening’s riot in Tottenham included photographs which you said, were “from Twitter”.
You may have found them via that website but they would have been hosted elsewhere and taken by other photographers, whom you did not name and whose copyright you may have breached.
You have done this with other recent news stories such as the Oslo attacks.
This is not acceptable.
In future, please give proper credit to photographers.
Here’s their reply, with my annotations and emboldening:
Dear Mr MABBETT [I've no idea why thay capitalised that — AM]
Thank you for your contact.
I understand you were unhappy that pictures from Twitter are used on BBC programmes as you feel it may be a breach of copyright.
Twitter is a social network platform which is available to most people who have a computer and therefore any content on it is not subject to the same copyright laws as it is already in the public domain. The BBC is aware of copyright issues and is careful to abide by these laws.
I appreciate you feel the BBC shouldn’t be using pictures from Twitter [I didn't say that — AM] and so I’ve registered your comment on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers as well as the programme makers and producers of ‘BBC News’.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
Update: I’ve sent a follow-up complaint to the BBC, you can see it below.
Update: Please note this comment, by Chris Hamilton, BBC News Social Media Editor.
Update: I have now received a further response from the BBC; quoted below with my reply to it.
Update: On 18 August, I received another response from the BBC; also quoted below.