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Photographers, avoid Instagram like the plague
December 17th, 2012 by Ken Hagler

New Instagram Terms of Service.

The Facebook-ification is starting:

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.

Where by “metadata”, they’re not talking about exposure and shutter speed. They’re talking about location. Just awful.

[Daring Fireball]

It’s actually much worse than that. According to the terms of service, not only Instagram may do basically anything they want with your photos, including license them out to others, they also say:

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; (iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.

What that means you as the photographer could easily wind up in very deep, very expensive legal trouble just because you used Instagram. Consider how this could play out: you take a photo of a random complete stranger on the street and display it freely as an example of street photography. So far, so good. However, someone in the PR department at a generic huge corporation sees the photo and pays Instagram $100,000 to sublicense your photo for a major advertising campaign. You don’t get any say, or any of the money. Now it’s not looking so good. Now we’re getting into dangerous territory, because use of a person’s image for commercial purposes requires a signed model release–which doesn’t exist.

But it gets worse! The random person on the street sees the advertisements prominently featuring their face and decides to sue. Because of the Instagram terms of service, you get hung out to dry by Instagram and the huge corporation. Congratulations, your little art photo taken with Instagram has cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Too bad your life is ruined because you didn’t read the terms of service.

This really is just like Facebook.


One Response  
  • Virginia Mach writes:
    December 18th, 20123:31 pmat

    What about tumblr? Is that safe?


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