A few days ago Twitter announced their Terms of Service updated for 2020. And the internet freaked out. This seems to happen every time a social media company updates their TOS. This is mostly driven by click-bait “news” articles that are written by people who likely didn’t read the new terms, compare it to the old, or understand why certain words and phrases need to be there for users to post and share. The other problem is most users don’t actually read the TOS – new or old. I do, but I’m weird. I DO think it’s important to read and understand TOS for all online (and offline for that matter) services you use, it’s also important to understand what they mean. For example how you license your photography or other artwork might affect how you publish your work – in some cases posting online can negatively affect your licensing options. Posting only directly to Social Media instead of sharing from your own website is also a lost opportunity.

This latest freak out is also a good reminder of why it is so important to fact check before rushing off to share the doom and gloom news. Take a few minutes to read the actual Terms of Service – new and old – and if a website or news source consistently doles out click-bait and misinformation stop reading, following and sharing them. They only do shady journalism because people believe it and over react.

But back to Twitter’s new Terms of Service. The section drawing the most concern is Your rights and Grant of Rights in the Content. Let’s compare the new and old:

2019 Twitter Terms of Service

Your Rights and Grant of Rights in the Content

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content).

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods now known or later developed (for clarity, these rights include, for example, curating, transforming, and translating).

2020 Twitter Terms of Service

Your rights and grant of rights in the content
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content).

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, Retweet, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, is made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services as the use of the Services by you is hereby agreed as being sufficient compensation for the Content and grant of rights herein.

This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.

Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your Content on the Services. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. You understand that we may modify or adapt your Content as it is distributed, syndicated, published, or broadcast by us and our partners and/or make changes to your Content in order to adapt the Content to different media.

You represent and warrant that you have, or have obtained, all rights, licenses, consents, permissions, power and/or authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein for any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. You agree that such Content will not contain material subject to copyright or other proprietary rights, unless you have necessary permission or are otherwise legally entitled to post the material and to grant Twitter the license described above.

Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your Content on the Services. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. You understand that we may modify or adapt your Content as it is distributed, syndicated, published, or broadcast by us and our partners and/or make changes to your Content in order to adapt the Content to different media.

You represent and warrant that you have, or have obtained, all rights, licenses, consents, permissions, power and/or authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein for any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. You agree that such Content will not contain material subject to copyright or other proprietary rights, unless you have necessary permission or are otherwise legally entitled to post the material and to grant Twitter the license described above.

As you can see there is very little that’s actually changed, Just a couple sentences that were awkward to begin with. The cores is unchanged, and simply what is necessary for you to post images, for Twitter to resize, scale, and crop for various screens and previews. It also allows for others to retweet your tweets. That’s it

Need more information about navigating the legalities of social media, your copyrights and other legal issues regarding your creative business? Check out the Artist’s JD – Kiffanie has a lot of useful and actionable resources to run your business. It has been a huge help to me.

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