Social Law
Mar 21, 2014

Library Claims Copyright Infringement Over Harmless Tweet

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British Library Tweet and Copyright Over Photo

If you ask the average library what they think about copyright laws, they will tell you that knowledge is more important than copyright law. If you ask at least one library worker at the Humanities Reading Room at the British Library what they think about copyright law, you will likely receive a completely different answer.

A patron of the library recently posted a Twitter picture from the library and he was quickly met with threats of legal action.

News reporter John Gapper was visiting the library when he went out the following tweet:

Library Copyright Twitter Pic Battle

Almost immediately after Gapper sent out his tweet the library demand its removal. According to officials, the photo violated copyright laws because the patrons in the photo didn’t give permission for the image to be taken.

The library’s officials, or at least whoever handles the buildings Twitter account sent out a bunch of nonsensical notes about the tweet, and photo, and copyright laws.

When fellow reporter Mathew Ingram asked if the library was serious they wrote “yes” and when he asked why they oddly tweeted “all the more reason for not taking photos then!”

We could harp on the lack of written context from a library official, but instead we will choose to share a few more messages from the library account: “For collection items: copyright issues; for readers: they haven’t given their permission to be photographed.”

What follows was a fellow mews person sticking up for another reporter:

So was Gapper violating copyright laws in a public building? We highly doubt it. Perhaps the library official was just really bad at explaining the libraries policies for patron privacy.

In any case, we highly doubt that the library photo will be deleted from Twitter and if I was Gapper I would fight as hard as possible to protect my rights.

[Photo Credit: Andrew Dunn]


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