It's called User Generated Content for a reason: you generated it.
If you modify it, that does not justify generating it, it simply says you modified it. As journalists, our job is to tell the truth. Modifying something and claiming it yours is not telling the truth, that's called plagiarism.
In an article from Poynter, it explains that the grey area between what's considered your's and not is very thin.
The example the article uses is in terms of Flickr and how just because you share it doesn't make it yours. The photo is only yours if you took it: plain and simple.
It is called USER generated for a reason. Just because you posted it, doesn't make it yours.
In school, anytime we doing an assignment, we are told to not plagiarize. Anytime we quote or use something that isn't our own, we are told to credit it to the original source. Nothing changes with pictures.
If you didn't take the picture, it's not yours; it can't be anymore clear than that.
In another article on Poynter, there was a line that said to check the source just as much as the information.
That line couldn't be anymore perfect for UGC.
As journalists, we don't go with the first source we hear from, we confirm through multiple sources and the same goes for videos and pictures, though they may be hard to trace.
Journalist have to be careful about not crossing the line of UGC. The most important thing to do is confirm where the photo came from. I watch anything that I ever pull and and direct tweet. Most times, I quote tweet things with make me less liable about proving where I found the content.
|Wynston's Twitter Acount|
Quote tweeting is the best thing Twitter has in my opinion because it cuts the thin line of whether you produced the content or not because someone can clearly see when you didn't come up with something.
The example that was brought up in class today was that a picture of a tornado continues to pop up whenever there is a tornado and whoever posts first says it was their picture.
Why? For the 15 seconds of fame? Not worth it.
That 15 seconds of fame could get you 15 months in jail for infringing copyright.
So I say all of this to say that when you share things, that doesn't make it yours. It just means you shared it. Now if you took the photo and then shared it, then yes it is yours.
User generated content is when someone (user) generates something online, not the person that "retweets" it or shares it.
Keep that in mind next time you save a photo and tweet it.