Instagram’s New Terms *UPDATED with Instagram’s Response to Users

Wail, howl, gnashing of teeth. That about sums up the reaction to Instagram’s new terms of service. They can use me in advertisements without asking! They can sell my photos! They can use my kids in ads!

Well, guess what? Other than reselling your photos they could ALREADY use you and anyone else you photographed in advertisements without asking. Wait? What? I can hear the coffee hitting computer monitors across the ‘net already.

The current terms of service state:
“Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy, available here: http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/.

Some of the Instagram Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”

Yeah, yeah, I know your eyes glazed over after about half a sentence of that. Basically, they can do anything they want with your content. They can already use your content in advertisements or any other content they produce themselves OR that others produce. About the only thing they can’t do is completely transfer rights to some other party. See that “sub-licensable” note? That means they can grant usage rights to a third party for advertisements or other purposes already.

The new terms expand on the old ones to clarify that Instagram can get money for sub-licensing and strengthens other terms they can sell your photos under. The new terms also spell out that your likeness or any likeness in your photos can be used without further permission from you. The real kicker for the new terms (other than it makes blatantly obvious what you already gave away) is that the terms are now irrevocable. This is the same beef I have with Google+. Even if you delete your content from Instagram they get to keep using it however they want.

The new terms:
“Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except

Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.
Some of the Instagram Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”

So what can be done? Read the terms before using a service and adjust your plans accordingly. If you must use services with crappy terms (which, honestly, is the vast majority of services on the ‘net) then minimize your risk by only uploading strongly watermarked photos at small size and low resolution.

*UPDATE* Instagram has blogged a response to today’s bruhaha over the upcoming term changes. That response should have included a frag shield for computers screens as anyone with a brain is having to restrain themselves from throwing things at the screen. Of course Instagram defended their actions. Did anyone really expect any different? The maddening, infuriating, do you really think we’re that stupid, part of the response is where they say “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.”

Cough, hack, sputter. What? Are they out of their minds? Do they really and truly believe people are stupid enough to buy into that double speak? Seriously, that’s like an oil company with mineral rights saying “It’s ok, we don’t own your yard, we’re only digging it up for the oil. You still own the dirt.”

Instagram had a chance at damage control and they just blew it out of the water. Go and delete your accounts. Find another sharing service if for no other reason than Instagram thinks you are an idiot.

Delete Instagram Account

Bye Bye Instagram – Delete Instagram Account

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