Bloggers and Instagram Users Beware: Instagram Will Be Able to Sell Your Photos
Update #2: Instagram now says it was never their intention to sell user’s photos. Take from it what you will!
Update: Around 3:30 PM ET 12/18/12, Instagram sent out this tweet on Twitter. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.
As you can see, I recently began using Instagram more as a fun way to share things I see in my every day life with friends and readers. However, if Instagram’s new terms of service stay in place, that will be changing because I don’t want my photos being sold without my specific permission.
That’s right – bloggers and Instagram users need to be aware. As stated in the new Instagram terms of service and found in this CNN article, Instagram will be able to sell photos uploaded through their service – even if a minor uploaded them – starting 1/16/13.
“…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.”
The most appalling part to me is that you currently there is no way to even opt out. To make sure your photos aren’t sold, you have to actually delete them before 1/16/13. If you don’t, you’ll have no recourse outside of small claims court or individual arbitration as the new TOS also states that you’ll be waiving your right to class-action lawsuit or class-wide arbitration.
So, in a nut shell, this means any and every photo you have on Instagram will be able to be sold to a company for commercial use starting 1/16/13 – whether it’s you, your spouse, your kids, your pets, or the beautiful picture of a dish or flower, etc. that you took. This applies to both bloggers and people that just use Instagram to share with their friends and family – and everyone in between.
Again, the only way to keep this from potentially happening is to delete your account – which I will be doing if something isn’t changed by the end of the year. You can, however, save your photos you’ve uploaded before deleting your account. Just go into your Instagram account, then to your profile page, open up your photos, tap on the 3 dots that look like ··· in the bottom right corner, and then share. From there you can email or text your photos to yourself – or upload to Facebook, but I would be careful doing so as this is all coming just 3 months after Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion. From the 3 dots button, you can also delete the photo.
All in all, to me this isn’t at all about privacy. I realize that by posting anything online, no matter how secure or the privacy settings I have in place, might as well be open for everyone to see. This is more about profit. While I realize I don’t take award-winning photos, I also don’t want to give up my rights for others to use them freely without my permission in ways I may not condone, which is why you see most photos on the site with a watermark.
Remember, you must take action by 1/16/13 or any of your Instagram content may be fair game!