View Full Version : Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos

12-18-2012, 06:55 PM
Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.

The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.

Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world's largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that "Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won't have to pay you anything to use your images."

"It's asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos," says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "That makes it challenging for someone to give informed consent to that deal."

That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on -- without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which could trigger state privacy laws.
Facebook did not respond to repeated queries from CNET this afternoon. We'll update the article if we receive a response.

Another policy pitfall: If Instagram users continue to upload photos after January 16, 2013, and subsequently delete their account after the deadline, they may have granted Facebook an irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity. There's no obvious language that says deleting an account terminates Facebook's rights, EFF's Opsahl said.

Facebook's new rights to sell Instagram users' photos come from two additions to its terms of use policy. One section deletes the current phrase "limited license" and, by inserting the words "transferable" and "sub-licensable," allows Facebook to license users' photos to any other organization.
A second section allows Facebook to charge money. It says that "a business or other entity may pay us to display your... photos... in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you." That language does not exist in the current terms of use.


Another unusual addition to Instagram's new policy appears to immunize it from liability, such as class action lawsuits, if it makes supposedly private photos public. The language stresses, twice in the same paragraph, that "we will not be liable for any use or disclosure of content" and "Instagram will not be liable for any use or disclosure of any content you provide."

full cnet article (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57559710-38/instagram-says-it-now-has-the-right-to-sell-your-photos/)

Seems as though Facebook's walled garden is growing, as is their disregard of Best Practices.

12-18-2012, 10:26 PM
I'm not an Instragram user so I don't have a horse in this race, but I'm honestly surprised this is happening. Perhaps naively, I assumed that sites such as this would have rules in place that protect the users from day one. In any case, I assume the reason they can get away with just being like "LOL fuck you guys, we're doing this and too bad what you think" about this is because their users aren't paying customers. What have they got to lose, right? Gross.

12-18-2012, 11:46 PM
I've deleted my account already. It makes me very angry because I didn't save photos that I posted and some of them were among my favorite pictures that I had of certain people. Thankfully I have a few saved to my Facebook profile (all photos on my FB are set to 'private') so I do have a few.

But this shit of companies suddenly decided that they can whatever and we have to just "suck it up" if we want to use their programs/apps/whatever is getting fucking stupid. I'm really sick of it.

12-19-2012, 02:03 AM
I created an instagram account about a year ago, but used only once. I would have just let it be, however because of this new policy I decided to delete my account. I think it's shitty on their part, but its in within their right - and so is people choosing not to use their services anymore. This and blocking twitter will lead to a mass exodus, or not. However, most people don't bother to read what of what they are agreeing to when they sign on to these things.

12-19-2012, 02:16 AM
I already hate Instagram. What's the point of a fancy 12 megapixel HD camera on a cell phone if they're going to compress your photos down to a 600x600 low-res square with some crappy filter over it? Still, this is hardly surprising to me. They are owned by Facebook. Remember Facebook's privacy policy/terms of service kerfuffle from a year or two ago? I think we even discussed it here. They basically say they have the right to anything, photos or otherwise, that you post to their website. Instagram is basically adopting the same policy.

12-19-2012, 07:13 AM
Later in the day yesterday, Instagram put up this blog post saying that people had 'misunderstood'. Hmm, I'm not convinced! It seems more like they started to realise lots of people would stop using the service because of the new changes and now they're trying to back-track.


Thank you, and we’re listening

Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone:

Advertising on Instagram From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. 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.

To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

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. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.

Ownership Rights 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.

I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.

Privacy Settings Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.

I am grateful to everyone for their feedback and that we have a community that cares so much. We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you. One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve. Thank you for your help in making sure that Instagram continues to thrive and be a community that we’re all proud of. Please stay tuned for updates coming soon.


Kevin Systrom co-founder, Instagram

12-19-2012, 07:56 AM
FB paid a billion dollars for Instagram, yeah? I think there was a reason for that. FB is simply a data mining operation with the social networking aspect aspect there so you willingly and legally sign over your data to them. That's the actual genius of it. They already sell your data to ap developers etc and anything you post is theirs forever. I find the whole organisation and people's willingness to shovel over their entire lives to it deeply sinister and depressing. The fact that they have previously changed the TOS overnight with little more than a 'fuck you, suckers' afterwards and people don't basically quit en masse is incredible to me.

other pete
12-19-2012, 10:21 AM




in the flick of a contract.

12-21-2012, 10:48 AM
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/instagram.png (http://xkcd.com/1150/)