Snapchat fans, we’ve got news for you – you’ve probably been breaking the law.
You know when you screenshot a particularly LOL Snapchat image posted by your BFF/little sister/Kim Kardashian? Well, if you then share that image with someone, you could face a prison sentence.
Ed Vaizey, the Government’s culture minister, has confirmed that keeping a copy of a Snapchat image and passing it on to another person is illegal, and breaches copyright law.
‘Under UK copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner,’ explained Vaizey. ‘The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement.’
The beauty of Snapchat was originally that images were automatically deleted after being sent. But, of course, the screenshot function now complicates things, as it enables all images to be saved and kept on record.
There’s also been debate around young people sending images of a sexual nature over Snapchat – if someone saves and passes on an image like this, then the consequences could be even more serious.
‘The disclosure of private sexual photographs or films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with intent to cause that individual distress, is an offence under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015,’ Vaizey says. ‘Those convicted could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.’
Snapchat’s official line is that we should all think very carefully about what we Snap, and to not send anything we wouldn’t want saved and re-shared.
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Food for thought…