Dear Instagram Users,
Welcome to Instagram under Facebook. In the new Privacy and Terms of Service Agreement, which was unveiled yesterday (December 17), Instagram has declared that it [Facebook] may not own your pictures, but can use or sell your pictures without paying you for them or even notifying you that they’re using them. Here are the terms in question – scroll down to the section titled “Rights.” These are just the first 3:
- Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.
- You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.
I guess this is good news for you if you’re a company looking for some artsy-looking stock photos of cats and sunsets.
The changes take effect on January 16, 2013. There is no way to opt-out other than deleting your account. If you delete your account after January 16, it may be too late because there is no obvious wording that states that deleting your account terminates Facebook’s rights to use the pictures. If you do want to go the deleting your account route, there’s a easy way to make sure you save all your current photos for your own use. Instaport will download your entire Instagram photo library for you in a .zip file (export options to Flickr and Facebook are in the works). A quick note if you do decide to delete your Instagram account – you can’t reactivate deleted accounts nor can you get the same user name back once it’s been deleted.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m not really okay with the fact that the Capital City Club could take my picture and use it to promote the view from their dining room or the Baiting Hollow Nursery could use my picture of my sister on a brochure to promote cutting down your own Christmas tree or I could visit the State Fair’s website next year and see the picture I took of the Ferris Wheel – all without credit, compensation, or notification. On the other hand, I know that my account is really low on the picture popularity totem pole and the odds of the Raleigh Parks Department finding my many, many Instagrams from walks and using them to promote their Greenway System is pretty slim, especially if I turn off the geographic locations and use hashtags sparingly. I can’t even say that I’m surprised. We all know that Facebook sucks the fun out of everything it touches. I pretty much stopped using Twitpic after they pulled similar crap last year.
I really love using Instagram and as I’ve said almost every month when I do my Photo-a-Day round-ups, it’s made me look at the world differently. I now walk around and automatically think of how I can capture the moment of something and then decorate it to how I perceive it and share that with both friends and strangers (and visa versa). I’m torn because it would make me so sad to have to give that up out of principle. I guess for now, I’m going to wait and see what the fallout is before I make any decisions because parts of this raises questions such as if a person is in a picture for sale, does a release need to be signed? What about children? There has to be some privacy laws against a toy company buying an Instagram picture of a 5-year-old playing on a swing set it sold and then using it in an advertisement. What do you think? What are you planning on doing?