Social media leader, photo-sharing service Instagram, which was recently purchased by Facebook, has made a very disturbing change to its terms of service. Effective January 16th, Instagram will reserve the right to sell a license for a company or individual to use any photographs uploaded by users without any their direct consent and without any form of compensation. In essence, they have reserved the right to steal what you post and use it for their profit.
This is a pretty amazing reach beyond the most basic standards about intellectual property. There is currently no way to opt out other than to close your account, which is what many people are doing as a result of this policy change. There’s no question that this will be challenged in court at some point. Such a hidden yet all encompassing IP grab opens the company up to lawsuits from intellectual property owners whose work may be posted by an third party Instagram/Facebook user and subsequently sold by Instagram.
The policy has caught the attention of international media. For more information, see to determine whether you will keep your Instagram account.
- The Washington Times: Opaque Instagram ad policy change riles users
- Mashable: Instagram Signs Your Life Away
- cNEt: Instagram Says It Now Has The Right to Sell Your Photos