Using eyewitness images – a discussion about rights and compensation

I’ll be honest that I’ve never sent in a cameraphone pic or video to a newspaper or television outlet. However, I have seen the commercials on KIAH CW 39 and I know people who have sent in images. We all know that the cameraphone pic of the plane in the river make it to TV within minutes of the incident itself. And we all know that this is a trend that’s going to continue.

But I never stopped to ask about news outlets rights to use the images and the compensation to the owner of the same.

KIAH CW 39 announces in their commercials that they’ll you pay $100 if they use your video. But I haven’t heard about anyone else providing any compensation to the owner of an image for using it.

Poynter has a great article about this topic. They delve into the practices of news agencies, the challenges of vetting the images, and keeping it all straight in a news industry that measures deadlines in seconds.


About Sandra Fernandez

Sandra Fernandez is a professional communicator, tech enthusiast, book lover, and blogger. You can find her main blog at and more of her writing at

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