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Yahoo! and Reuters want your phone pics

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Yahoo! and Reuters are creating a website to collect video and photos taken by readers.

The site is called You Witness and will be available from tomorrow here.

Initially, the service will provide stills and video media for the Yahoo! website, but from early next year the content will be offered to other Reuters customers. Yahoo! is still deciding how punters will be paid if their photos are sold on. Most existing services split the proceeds 50:50.

Events like the 2004 tsunami and London Underground bombings have underlined the usefulness of video clips and pictures taken by people using their phones. The BBC and Sky are also encouraging more reader and viewer input into programming. Go here for Jeremy Paxman's scathing view of a similar project on Newsnight.

Sadly, neither Reuters nor Yahoo! in the UK were available to answer media enquiries today.

Several sites have opened offering similar services - but most focus on selling images into traditional media. Many of these are dedicated to celebrity news - such as thesnitcherdesk.com.

Thesnitcher managing director Jay Feeney told the Reg: "It's a competitive market - there are several players in the market, like us and scoopt.com for celebrity stuff. But it makes sense for them - they are two huge companies."

Feeney said it was important that pictures do not breach privacy legislation. ®

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