How much would you pay for the picture Courtney Love tweeted of her ladyparts? Or Katy Perry sans makeup? Soon, magazines and blogs will probably pay thousands of dollars. A paparazzi photo agency is taking over celebrities' Twitter pictures.
Tabloids and gossip blogs have had it pretty easy lately: Socially-networked celebrities have been essentially functioning as their own paparazzi, snapping shots of themselves and each other, then uploading them to Twitter for easy downloading and insertion into mocking blog posts. This golden era has now ended with the announcement of paparazzi photo agency WENN's deal with popular Twitter picture-posting tool Plixi.
See, Plixi's terms of service gives them exclusive distribution rights to any photos its users upload. And they are distributing them to WENN, which will now treat them as it does all other photos in its catalog (most taken not by a bikini-clad Demi Moore but by a professional photographer.) The Press Gazette writes that "exclusive new photos posted by high-profile celebrities to Plixi could now be sold for tens of thousands of pounds to magazines, newspapers and websites."
This is terrible news for all bloggers, as it vividly reveals to celebrities how irrationally they've been "giving it up" (as the paps say) by posting newsworthy shots to their personal Twitter accounts for free. No doubt, when Demi Moore sees some photo agency is starting to make tens of thousands of dollars by retroactively extracting fees from the thousands of websites that posted those bikini photos she will never again bare her body unless she has been adequately compensated. Someday we'll tell our kids about the time, long ago, when there was actually something good on Twitter.