Instagram has changed its terms of service, much to the anger of its users. In the new terms the photo-sharing site has the right to licence your photos to other companies without telling you…
When Instagram’s new rules come into effect on 16 January, the photo-sharing site will be able to sell your photos to advertisers. Whether they’re photos of your cat or your kids, you won’t have to be told nor will you be given any money if Instagram decides to sell them. The term reads:
‘To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.’
You can only opt-out of this by deleting your Instagram account before 16 January 2013.
Does Instagram really want to sell your photos?
Now, I’m personally not a fan of Instagram – I don’t really see why ruining a good photo by colouring it in a vague tinge of brown makes it artistic. Nonetheless, this kind of thing still really riles me up.
Firstly, it’s not really clear whether Instagram will ever use these terms for anything practical. No company in its right mind would want to use my wobbly, ham-fisted photos in its ads, for example. And Instagram itself suggests that these new terms could provide better features. However, there are probably still talented Instagram photographers hiding somewhere, and I doubt they’d be happy with the site’s new terms.
What’s particularly worrying is that Instagram’s own blog post says that ‘nothing has changed about your photos’ ownership’. Would you feel like the owner of your photos if they could be sold to another company? I’m sure you’d feel even more bitter if there was no payment nor any reference to you, the creator. So the question arises – will you turn your back on Instagram?
[UPDATE 19/12/2012] – In response to the backlash, Instagram will be amending its terms. Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder, clarify’s the company’s position:
‘To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.
‘The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.
‘Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.’