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Various social media tools, from TwitPic and Instagram to Flickr and Pheed, enable—indeed, encourage—users to post their photos online.1 Posting a "real time" image from the Mideast, a political event, the Super Bowl, or a snowstorm can be informative and even exhilarating for both the poster and the viewer. However, there is also a valuable commercial market for the licensing of such topical images that stands in stark contrast to the "free to all" frenzy of social media. These two competing interests were recently explored in a decision by Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York in Agence France Presse v. Morel.2 The decision addresses the intersection of federal copyright law and online contractual terms as they apply to the online posting of photos as well as the continued business interest of photographers in images that they make available in social media. It is particularly interesting in the context of social media applications such as Twitter, whose core functionality depends on redistribution of materials that have been posted by others.

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