Government Minister Says Taking a Screenshot in Snapchat Could Be Illegal

By James O Malley on at

Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey has claimed that taking screenshots of Snapchat messages and sharing them without permission could land you in hot water - and perhaps even in prison.

According to The Independent he was asked about what steps the government was taken to ensure Snapchat images were not shared without the consent by DUP MP Jim Shannon.

The way Snapchat works is that once you send an image, it will be automatically be deleted from the recipients' phone after a short period of time - typically ten seconds. As a result, one of the most popular ways of preserving images like this is to take a screenshot. But this might not always be a good idea.

"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", Vaizey is quoted as saying in response, in an official Parliamentary written answer. If someone decides to sue you for copyright infringement, you could end up with a fine of up to £50,000 or even six months in prison. Though it could get worse:

"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". This is a reference to the criminalisation of "revenge porn" - and could land the sharer up to two years in prison.

So... it might be wise to think before your screenshot in the future. [Independent]