Snapchat fans, we’ve got news for you. You have probably been breaking the law.
We’re all guilty of the screenshot, especially when we’ve been sent a particularly hilarious image. But if you then happen to share that screengrab with someone else, you could end up facing 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.
‘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.’
OG users will know that Snapchat was originally meant for sharing images that would then automatically delete after being opened. 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.
Food for thought.