Instagram now owns your photos, and can sell them.

By Ash Davies
December 19, 2012 from Blog,News and Updates

As of January 16th, updates to Instagram’s terms of service and privacy policy mean that the app holds a royalty-free, worldwide license to all posted images.

“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.” It’s such a blatantly clear, aggressive statement that it’s hard to imagine how Instagram expected anything but a backlash.

Kevin Systrome, Instagram’s co-founder and CEO, has already responded to the backlash with a blog post titled ‘Thank you and we’re listening‘. It’s PR gold…

“The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.”

Kevin’s post is more of a clarification than a concession. Instagram won’t be removing the clause entirely, but will endeavour to amend the language to make it sound less asshole-ish.

The internet’s backlash is already in full swing. #boycottInstagram was trending on Twitter yesterday with thousands of users (Anonymous included) protesting with threats of deleting their accounts. Major blogs are asking if this is Instagram’s Netflix moment – A PR disaster causing millions of users to jump ship and stock prices to tumble.

The news comes just a month after our piece on Facebook’s similar privacy policy.

We’ll wait and see how Instagram amends their terms. In the meantime, does this change the way you’ll use Instagram?

  • HamPhotography

    Oh Instagram. Sigh.

  • nicole ching

    have been thinking of permanently deleting my account on instagram for a while now. i hardly use it anyway, so now this reason just does the trick for me.

  • marksf

    PR gold? I though it was highly offensive. He was blaming users for being “confused”, when that was clearly not the case. The language of the T.O.S. was very explicit, and completely outrageous. For him to come out and say they have no intention of actually doing the things they claim the right to do in their T.O.S. strikes me as dishonest.

  • Nicholas Chang

    Just what we need; more ads and crap!

  • Paul Ronco

    I suspect Instagram’s Data Use Policy, like Facebook’s, allowed them to use and sell users’ content without paying royalties even before they put out this clarifying language. Instagram is owned by Facebook and Facebook’s Data Use Policy basically says that content is owned by both Facebook and the original creator, for either party to do with as they please with no permission from, or compensation to, the other.

  • Chrisb Marquez

    All of this to include Ads on the feed!!