Dec
18
2012

Instagram Now Has Rights to Sell Your Photos

“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.” (Cnet) Well, glad I never had an account with them. I had to do some research into this one to make sure it was no Urban Myth, and I unfortunately found out it is true. In a recent blog posting by photo giant Instagram, they basically laid claim to selling full rights to your photos at anytime without notifying you. In other words, if you pose with a beer at your next Superbowl party, that picture might be showing up on a Natty Light commercial without you ever knowing it (and Instagram getting paid for it). The new Instagram rules aren’t set to go into effect until January 16, but users are concerned over how their photos could end up in advertisements on Instagram, and possibly Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. This latest privacy flap highlights, once again, the continuing tension between privacy concerns and using a free service that lets you connect with others across the globe. 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.

Instagram’s new terms of service, under the heading “Rights,” says the following: “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.”

In short, advertising you already see on Facebook, such as an ad showing a friend who liked a certain product on Facebook, is headed to Instagram. And Instagram photos may also end up being used for ads on Facebook. 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.

Instagram’s current terms, set to be replaced on January 16, also imply that your photos could be used for advertising: “You hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content.” Facebook already uses your name and profile picture for advertising, but the social network does allow you to opt out of using your likeness for advertising in its privacy settings.

What is even more concerning is how they can even do this to kids! In a moment of “let’s cover our butts” legalese, Instagram also says that anyone under 18 who is using Instagram is assumed to be doing so with their parents’ permission. And, as such, their information can be used in an ad. “If you are under the age of eighteen (18)…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,” Instagram’s new terms say.

In other words, unless you want Instagram to possibly make money off your pics, delete your account before January 16th.

Important articles:

CNet “Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos”

 

PCWorld “Instagram updates privacy policy, inspiring backlash”

 

 

Instagram “Privacy and Terms of Service Changes on Instagram”

 

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