Instagram wants to sell your pics without telling you. Do you care? Update: Instagram says you own your pics, promises to clarify terms

posted at 4:21 pm on December 18, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

So, I’m all for Instagram (bought by Facebook for $1 billion in April) monetizing its product, since monetizing is just a fancy way of saying “do exactly what the heck a business exists to do— make a profit.” I think it’s silly when people are shocked to find the super-keen social tools they’ve been using will not continue to exist entirely free of fee or any ad interference. Please see the freak-out when a Facebook veep confirmed, yes, Instagram might try some stuff to make money:

Business Insider rocked certain segments of the tech world today with the following, typically breathless headline: “FACEBOOK CONFIRMS: Ads Are Coming To Instagram.” To be clear, the article itself neglects to substantiate this assertion. Here are Facebook VP Carolyn Everson’s exact words, according to Business Insider:

BI: Will you put ads in Instagram?

CE: Eventually we’ll figure out a way to monetize Instagram.

That’s not a “yes,” it’s a dodge. There are many ways to monetize services besides putting ads in them, and while it’s certainly logical to assume that advertising would be among those, Everson specifically avoided confirming that. Yet the tech blogosphere has run with the non-story anyway. The Verge took the admirable step of making its headline accurate, rendering it, “Facebook confirms it will ‘monetize’ Instagram.” But it apparently overlooked the fact that once you make the story accurate, it’s no longer a story. Or does our naivete about the social-media industry run so deep that “Business confirms it will eventually try to make money from its products” counts as breaking news?

That was less than a week ago. Now, let’s look at the new terms of service announced for Instagram today, which have spawned a whole new freak-out. CNET:

Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.

The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.

Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”

“It’s asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos,” says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That makes it challenging for someone to give informed consent to that deal.”

That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which could trigger state privacy laws.

If you already have an Instagram account, you have until Jan. 16 to decide if you want to submit to the new terms of service. If your kids have one, it might be worth telling them about this. You can delete your account, but that’s your only opt-out.

Your mileage may vary but as for me, I was on the verge of creating an Instagram account (I wasn’t an early adopter on this one) and probably won’t now. My husband, who’s an avid photographer but never had an Instagram account, is now happy he stuck with Flickr, which has rules more in line with Instagram’s old terms of service. I recognize this may seem silly of us considering all the access to information we give to Facebook and Google, though with both services I try to do as many opt-outs as possible. Something about giving over absolute ownership of family photos seems more viscerally intimate in a way other bits of data don’t.

But it’s an interesting and common dilemma in the new electronic age. These companies are undoubtedly doing us great service, and we don’t have to pay for them as long as they can use us and our data to make money. They do that in ways that can make some people uncomfortable. They often do it in ways that aren’t terribly transparent— Facebook, I’m talking to you. I appreciate the Electronic Freedom Foundations and CNETs and TechCrunches of the world trying to bring clarity to the growing number of dense and legalistic terms of service agreements we sign onto every year of our lives, so that we can then make smart decisions about whether to patronize these companies.

The exact same quality that makes Facebook or Instagram irresistible to advertisers makes them nearly irreplaceable for users— they’ve both reached critical mass. Deleting one’s Facebook account in revolt over new terms of service doesn’t exactly allow one to sign onto MySpace to get the same service. At the heart of the service is the number of your friends and family who are on Facebook. Deleting one’s Instagram account doesn’t then mean one can sign up for a comparable service because part of the service is the Who, not just the What.

Maybe this will blow over and Instagram users will just snap away mostly blissfully ignorant of where their photos end up and how they’re used. Because Instagram doesn’t have to notify you, it has the advantage of being a hidden revenue, not in your face like ads that would remind people why they’re mad all the time. For now, many are posting this “How to Delete Your Instagram Account” how-to on Twitter. There are already a host of how-tos for saving and moving your Instagram photos before deleting.

As I said, I’m all for Instagram making money off its many users in some way. But whenever a business makes a change, it has to be mindful of the kinds of customers it’s trying to keep and the kind it’s still trying to woo. Frankly, a lot of Instagram’s most enthusiastic users are hipstery Millenials with a sense of entitlement bigger than the supercomputer in “War Games” (not that they’ve seen that). Is it any wonder they’d take loud exception to this? Making money requires making changes while preserving the trust of customers and what made the product great. These rules seem to undercut that quite a bit. Led by celebrities on Twitter, they seem to be deleting en masse today:

http://twitter.com/markhoppus/status/281099968373202944

The Anonymous “hacktivists” are pushing a boycott, which will no doubt go viral, at least for a while.

Someone at The Nation RTs a broader policy question:

While you may disagree with the objections to the federal government in this particular critique, I do think it’s worth thinking about how we could get the public to loudly demand the government be half as responsive and smart as we demand private companies are.

I’m curious how our commenters deal with these online privacy issues. I try to stay aware and use basic opt-outs and privacy settings, but what if they’re not available to you? Do you abandon the service or charge onward in your Instagramming?

Exit video: If you don’t know much about Instagram, here’s a good parody/primer. It’s pretty funny, but apologies for even a parodic use of Nickelback. Observe a slight content warning for some language.

Update: Another reporter says, though the new rules are a tad icky, the freak-out is an overreaction. But even if he’s right, and we take the most benign interpretation of the terms of service possible, really badly calculated not to have a roll-out in which they explained this.

So what can Instagram do? Well, an advertiser can pay Instagram to display your photos in a way that doesn’t create anything new — so Budweiser can put up a box in the timeline that says “our favorite Instagram photos of this bar!” and put user photos in there, but it can’t take those photos and modify them, or combine them with other content to create a new thing. Putting a logo on your photo would definitely break the rules. But putting a logo somewhere near your photos? That would probably be okay.

If all of this seems vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s basically what Facebook has been doing with Sponsored Posts for months now — advertisers can pay to “sponsor” your posts in various categories to make sure they prominently appear in your friends’ News Feeds. So if you “like” The Hobbit, the filmmakers can pay Facebook to promote that post across Facebook. The main difference is that Facebook is a little more clear and careful about what can and can’t be promoted — you do lots of different kinds of things on Facebook, so it fundamentally has more things to sell. Pretty much all you do on Instagram is share photos, so there’s just not much else the company can do to make money except use those photos and your data to sell ads.

Update: Instagram responds. The Internet can really spin itself into a outsized temper tantrum very quickly that’s disproportionate to the threat posed. Instagram should have known that and explained its rules instead of just throwing them out there with what looks like pretty bad, unclear legal language. They know it now:

Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone.

Click through for clarifications on advertising, ownership of photos, and privacy settings, if you’re an Instagram user.


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It does not matter to me or our house, WE DO not have facebook or twitter! And do not intend to have them! Y’all who do, might give a re-think what you post?
L

letget on December 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

You know, the Supreme Court decided that there is a fundamental right to privacy (don’t get me started on the opinion, I’m just reminding everyone of this) some 40 odd years ago. How is it, then, that no one in this country exercises that right by keeping their pictures and embarrassing information to themselves? Not to mention, allowing FB to take ownership of what would once have been deemed one’s property: one’s image. When we decided theft of property wasn’t a big deal, as in “oh, just some stuff got stolen. The insurance company I can afford the loss”, we set this country on a downward spiral that we may never escape.

totherightofthem on December 18, 2012 at 4:26 PM

If a web site or product you’re using is free… guess what, YOU are what’s being sold to someone.

What, you thought they were giving it away out of the goodness in their hearts? Surprise! Ok, not such a big surprise.

monkeyboy on December 18, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Everything you use that belongs to someone else … BELONGS TO SOMEONE ELSE!! This is why people shouldn’t use FarceBook or Gmail or Yahoo mail (except for throwaway junk) even WordPress but should just buy their own sites and have their own private web sites and emails. Same for any “free” storage space they are offered. Hard drives are so cheap it’s crazy. Even flash drives are cheap enough to store everything you had just 10 years ago, and then some.

Private property is something that no one should ever underestimate or give up, especially online. Private property is the fount from which all individual liberties derive and the foundation of our culture and what used to be America.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Distraction.
But since most of the overly-social digirati are liberal-progressives, maybe dangling a shiny object in front of those morons is a good thing right now.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

I’ve never used it but it does seem a little ironic that SOME people who have ignored the copyrights of others for years and posted and used others intellectual property on the net for free now find it outrageous that photos they published may now be used and sold by some else without compensation.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

It might be time to re-think this whole ‘social-network’ thingy.

trigon on December 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Good thing I don’t do Instagram LOL

Enjoy it, suckers!

Good Lt on December 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM

I’m with you on this one. Just last week I considered joining instagram but didn’t. Now I’m glad I didn’t. If FB follows suit, I’ll quit. I don’t mind ads, but they aren’t going to have any chance to sell my photos that is for sure.

shanimal on December 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM

It’s kind of funny that “technologically savvy” are the ones who are too stupid to get their own private sites and own everything have but, instead, are only smart enough to use what others build for them … and then whine about others owning stuff that they willfully hand over control of.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM

All your photo are belong to us!

shanimal on December 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM

You can bet Leo Laporte is fuming about this already on one of his dozen tech talk shows / streams.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Well lets see. We can get fined and imprisoned for using music or movies without paying compensation to the owner. From what I understand, technically every one of the photos is automatically copyright by the owner. So FB says they have the right to steal your copyrighted material and sell it for a profit. So no I’m not all right with the whole thing.

I guess FB could claim that the pictures are theirs as a form of compensation for hosting them but who determines the value? I would think it would then fall into the murky area of bartering. Should the IRS be informed of this. After all FB claims the photos do represent some value and thus have increased their revenue.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM

I never used it anyway, but I just uninstalled Instagram from my phone.

The Rogue Tomato on December 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM

I’ve never used it but it does seem a little ironic that SOME people who have ignored the copyrights of others for years and posted and used others intellectual property on the net for free now find it outrageous that photos they published may now be used and sold by some else without compensation.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Zing! A good point. I’m pretty sure the overlap of Instagrammers and Napsters/Limewire users is HUGE.

Mary Katharine Ham on December 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

This is the main reason I have never had and will probably never have a Facebook account. Now I will never have an Instagram account.

A more important question to those of who totally opt-out: how is it right or legal that someone else could take a picture of you, post it to Instagram, and have your likeness sold? This is just itching for an IP lawsuit. (On top of the fact that most interpretations of current law would, I think, require you to opt-in before you could categorically give up your rights to your IP.)

GWB on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I use Facebook and occasionally Twitter, but not Instagram. I see someone’s Instragram photos all the time on my Facebook page.

22044 on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I wonder what happens if a professional photographer who copyrights his/her photos posts one of them on his/her Facebook page? Does having “copyright by John Doe 2012″ emblazoned on the photo change what Instagram could do with it?

Jill1066 on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Ironic, isn’t it?

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

No, not really, because not everyone affected by this has stolen others works and sold them for profit. I even venture to guess very few people have stolen copyrighted material and sold it for profit. This is different than just stealing copyrighted material. It’s more like payment using the photos as payment for services.

I guess if you don’t want to pay FB via photos to host your photos then don’t post them there.

I wonder what happens when they sell off a truly copy righted photo. They are a lot of businesses that use FB as a point of contact on the web. How will they feel when they see their logos and photos being sold for profit?

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Don’t use that service, don’t care. Recommended viewing (parody) of it.

Mr. Prodigy on December 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Another interesting point: if Instagram takes IP control of your family photos, selling them as stock photography, aren’t you violating their IP when you email those pics to grandma? Unless, of course, you’re paying Instagram for them…….

GWB on December 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Ironic, isn’t it?

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Well, sticking strictly to pictures, no. As far as I know, nobody who posts pictures on Facebook is making money by re-posting copyrighted pictures on Facebook. And most of them fall under “parody” anyway.

But the overlap of people who download pirated movies, songs, etc. — yeah, that’s ironic if they’re complaining.

The Rogue Tomato on December 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Don’t use that service, don’t care. Recommended viewing (parody) of it.

Mr. Prodigy on December 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Gotta admit, that was pretty good.

totherightofthem on December 18, 2012 at 4:54 PM

So if I understand the concept, Instagram is Twitter for illiterate people?

Sorry, I don’t get this need to share the boring details of one’s real life with the world. I would like to figure out how to send pictures back to friends and family during my trip to Europe this Summer but that is about as far as I want to share.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 4:57 PM

My problems with the government sweeping up information en mass and not telling individuals has to do not only with privacy concerns (from Amendments IX and X), freedom of speech concerns (Amendment I), but also the copyright of all such material. Material produced by individuals is under their copyright as originator and the US government must get waivers to have such material when it is not part of any ongoing criminal investigation (Amendment IV). As the government has not sought to utilize that material by asking individuals to do so but still holds it without it being licensed to them, they are in violation of the very same copyright laws that corporations wish to utilize to keep material out of the hands of others well past the deaths of the individuals who created them. I do not want money for that material: I want it erased and removed from government holdings as I am not licensing it outside of any material I make publicly available or those I have transactional or employment related materials with.

Given how FOIA requests have not been honored in an expedient fashion by so many government agencies since the start of FOIA, what are the chances of getting the entire US federal government to actually respond to such a request across all Agencies? Do you have to go to the elected head of the Executive Branch (which covers all federal agencies outside of the Judiciary and Legislative branches)? Can you imagine sending such a FOIA request to 1600 Penn. Ave. and expecting to get a RESPONSE FROM IT just so you can get a handle on the problem? Or, on the flip side, how many FOIAs do you have to start just to get a handle on that information if you have to go and pester each and every federal agency individually? Yeah you would start with some of the major storehouses of NSA, CIA, and such… but would you remember the Labor Dept. or Energy Dept. or government archives?

After having been inside a part of the government that might actually have citizen information, I remember the year-end going over of our materials to make sure that we had NO information that could be linked to any US citizen in our working areas and immediate archives. Why does the NSA get a waiver from that? Or CIA? Or any agency that might gather such information outside of criminal investigations? And the thing that bothered me: who audits this stuff across all the agencies? I would hope at least the IGs doing a per agency review…

And for commercial services wishing to use material: send me two paper copies of the license you wish to offer me so I can have your signature on it and then I can put mine on both and I can keep one and you get the other. Or you will get both with amended terms for you to OK, initial, and then resend with your dated initials with mine then going next to them… this could take a few iterations, of course. And note that I will add to the text that this agreement cannot be unilaterally changed by either side and that if either side steps away from the agreement, all materials revert back to the originator for copyright purposes and will no longer be utilized by the service for anything.

Now if you want to run a service making all such stuff public domain… well that’s fine. Say so and that users relinquish all rights to said materials and that it is made freely available to the public in perpetuity and that the company holding such material has no special claim on its use, although may use it commercially. I’m totally fine with that. Say so up front. Might make a good business model, to boot, and require less legal overhead for all concerned just so long as you know what you are getting into.

ajacksonian on December 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Wasn’t planning on joining instagram and am now sure i will not be joining. Notice how the guys in all the social media are so called liberals and the old adage of “Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.” is not to be stronger than in those circles.

jukin3 on December 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I wonder what happens if a professional photographer who copyrights his/her photos posts one of them on his/her Facebook page? Does having “copyright by John Doe 2012″ emblazoned on the photo change what Instagram could do with it?

Jill1066 on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Wouldn’t Instagram have to keep the copyright emblazoned on it?

This is the kind of murky stuff which convinces me that social media is not all that it is cracked up to be. There are countless stories about job-seekers whose potential employers are shocked about what they find by simple searches up to and including snotty comments about the individual who just interviewed them.

There used to be the “CNN Rule” where you don’t say or do anything in public that you wouldn’t want to see on CNN. Well there is a social media version of that rule- Don’t post anything about yourself that you want to be part of the internet FOREVER!

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

How dumb are people? Did they really think that Mark Suckerberg just really thought that Instagram was that cool so he just HAD to own it? Usually when one company spends a billion dollars on something they expect to make much more than that back (ask Google, its called capitalism). And don’t think that is the end of it. They will slowly roll out more TOS’s in the future giving them more rights. They won’t do anything right away, they will wait until this blows over and all the people who dropped it return.

Deets on December 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I deleted my account today, but not really in protest per se. I never used it anyway, so this was just a small reminder that I had a random account out there that would be best extinguished. So..eh…whatever.

pecan pie on December 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Here’s Instagram’s response:

Thank You and We’re Listening

Catahoula on December 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Zing! A good point. I’m pretty sure the overlap of Instagrammers and Napsters/Limewire users is HUGE.

Mary Katharine Ham on December 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Since it’s inception, many people think that just because something is on the internet means it should be free.

It’s funny to see the reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

At home sits a lonely Linux server. It serves pictures all day long to my relatives and my family. I have put a copyright notice into the headers of each of the photos on the site, and nobody can make a claim to said intellectual property other than me. My ISP doesn’t claim to own my data — in fact, their contract states that I alone am responsible for the legality of my content.

Given that most people have 24/7 internet connectivity, and most Americans (pity the Europeans) have neither usage caps nor data taxes, I’m surprised that more people don’t run their own personal servers.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

No, not really, because not everyone affected by this has stolen others works and sold them for profit. I even venture to guess very few people have stolen copyrighted material and sold it for profit. This is different than just stealing copyrighted material. It’s more like payment using the photos as payment for services.

I guess if you don’t want to pay FB via photos to host your photos then don’t post them there.

I wonder what happens when they sell off a truly copy righted photo. They are a lot of businesses that use FB as a point of contact on the web. How will they feel when they see their logos and photos being sold for profit?

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

You’ve got to be kidding, right?

If I steal your car for a joyride but don’t sell it is it any less stolen? You ignore the fact that the initial copyright infringement lays the path to further abuse by making the content available.

I have musician-friends who are on pins and needles whenever they record masters that are not yet released for sale or alternative market-distribution. The d*ckhead engineer or studio tech who uploads some artists’ tracks before the label might not profit. But they still eat into the content-owner’s profits and rights.

You’re a d***, plain and simple. Pay for what you use or GTFO.

Conversely, if you’re not paying for what you use – ISNTAGRAM servers, techs, etc – don’t complain about what they do with what you freely GIVE TO THEM.

If you don’t want somebody else to commodify your image don’t slut yourself out like a middle-school extrovert.

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Stupid greed…this is why and how laws are made to protect individuals.

When politicians talk about new internet laws, we will all whine and cry, but it’s these kind of actions that ignite the political rhetoric.

And Facebook and the rest will decry that the government is intervening in their profits…well, you brought it on yourself.

right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

It’s funny to see the reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

It stops being funny when you watch years of production, practice and dedication engulfed by a tidal-wave of ****you from the Internet loser crowd.

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

ajacksonian on December 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

http://www.wikipedia.org

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

No, not really, because not everyone affected by this has stolen others works and sold them for profit. I even venture to guess very few people have stolen copyrighted material and sold it for profit.
Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I understand your point, but “for profit” has nothing to do with it. Copyrights can and are violated all the time by people who are not doing it for profit, but only for personal use. Now that the tables have been turned, and some of these same people are now having their personal photos sold as stock footage, they got a lot of nerve complaining about it.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM

No, not really, because not everyone affected by this has stolen others works and sold them for profit.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

That’s not the criteria for stealing copyrighted items…

Let’s say a company creates a product, and everyone used that product and just calls it, instead of copying, Xeroxing, no profit, but Xerox eventually would lose their copyrighted name…so they file suit to not allow their name to be used “wholesale”.

Get it now? That is just one example of many others using copyrighted material, and not getting a profit or selling…

right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

It’s funny to see the reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

What people don’t realize is that anything that is posted on a webpage, for instance, is covered by copyrighted law.

So this blog, owned by HA (their parent), everything on this is copyrighted…technically (legally), others can’t pull anything off this site without citation and/or permission.

right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Given that most people have 24/7 internet connectivity, and most Americans (pity the Europeans) have neither usage caps nor data taxes, I’m surprised that more people don’t run their own personal servers.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Yep. That’s because most of them are just idiots. I laugh at people who think themselves “technologically savvy” just because they can minimally work a website that was designed to appeal to the brain-dead and the lazy. The bar has been lowered so far that people think being able to use a smartphone is some comment on their abilities. It’s pathetic.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 18, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Another interesting point: if Instagram takes IP control of your family photos, selling them as stock photography, aren’t you violating their IP when you email those pics to grandma? Unless, of course, you’re paying Instagram for them…….

GWB on December 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Probably not. They’ve merely taken control of the bits you posted to their server — not to the IP you have sitting on your hard drive. And not even that is certain — if you’ve gone to the trouble of copyrighting your work. Then they can use it on their site, but they cannot resell it as off-site artwork without some form of arrangement with you — the original copyright holder. That you have given them permission to show your work on-site is a given, even in the absence of a contract.

As a semi-pro photographer, I make sure that every digital copy of my work has an embedded copyright — Photoshop is very good for digital rights management. If someone removes said copyright and reuses my work, they open themselves to a world of pain, for the act of removal proves that they understood the copyright obligation. I also rubber-stamp my physical media — my hard drives, my Kodachromes, my negatives….

That said, the fact that I have a website offering said photos for the public to peruse does not mean that someone who puts my pictures up on their browser — in essence, making a temporary copy — is violating copyright.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

So this blog, owned by HA (their parent), everything on this is copyrighted…technically (legally), others can’t pull anything off this site without citation and/or permission.

right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:16 PM

There is the “fair use” exemption — which says that I could pull a paragraph (not an entire article, of course) of Ed’s or Allahpundit’s work off of Hot Air and put it on mine provided said use is for my criticism, parody, or commentary — all of which is protected use.

In fact, Ed and Allahpundit make use of this exemption all the time — they are not paying for the excerpts from the various authors upon which they comment.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

The co-founder is already backtracking.

Classic Coke /New Coke redux.

PappyD61 on December 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

The co-founder is already backtracking.

Classic Coke /New Coke redux.

PappyD61 on December 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Bottom line- make enough to pay the bills or die. The WaPo came out last week and announced that they would be a pay-for-access site by next summer. Why? Because their profits from print editions suck.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 6:32 PM

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Fair use is not the biggest problem. But you still get bloggers laying waste to the concept by copying entire articles.

Remember this?

That serves as an example of a work I enjoyed because AB was a warrior until I despised it because it was essentially stolen work. Andrew Breitbart was not a thief and his legacy is above common thievery. This was not fair use.

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Another interesting point: if Instagram takes IP control of your family photos, selling them as stock photography, aren’t you violating their IP when you email those pics to grandma? Unless, of course, you’re paying Instagram for them…….

GWB on December 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

No.

I currently own originals of many photos you may have seen in publication. I own the originals because I worked with the original photographers who owned extended publishing rights to me. Some of those works were ultimately licensed to news and entertainment wires.

But I have the originals and original rights. You retain ownership of your pics.

OTOH you do not own rights to content simply because your are depicted, cited or recorded.

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Cool your jets. You missed my point. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.
What I mean is that you can’t claim that this is irony because it’s thieves doing the complaining because you cannot make a blanket statement that everyone on the net has stolen IP. That’s all I meant so there is no need to call me names.

also, to not only you but to Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM
and right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

What part of “because not everyone affected by this has stolen others works” is hard to understand? Okay, I admit I should maybe have left the “sold it” off but selling it is what is being talked about rather then the stuff being taken for private personal viewing. Also that statement cannot rightfully be taken that I condone such actions. But I’m sure it will be by any number of you.

If I read you right I’m fully within my rights to assume and call each one of you thieving scum bags that don’t have the decency to pay for things you get from the net. That is unless you are claiming the liberal right to not be included in your denigration of every other person on the net.

It’s you folks that are taking the stand that EVERYONE on the net is a thief so therefore you cannot exclude you thieving selves.

Your blanket declaration is that I am in fact a thief and I very much resent that. So to be rude you all can shove it up your self righteous backsides. Freaking self righteous internet cops are as bad as liberals.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Get it now? That is just one example of many others using copyrighted material, and not getting a profit or selling…

right2bright on December 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

So you are claiming that the company that is using the Xerox like name is not getting a profit from whatever it makes. Must have been a not for profit company.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Don’t worry if Instagram wants to sell your pictures, most people won’t want to buy them.

RAN58 on December 18, 2012 at 7:18 PM

March 2011 – Facebook Updates Its Terms of Service

Users: Facebook is giving itself the right to sell all of our personal information to any company it wants!

Facebook: Um…you know those ads you see that sometimes have “your friend liked this” next to them? That’s all we were talking about. We’re not giving out your info.

Users: Oh.

April 2012 – Facebook Buys Instagram

December 2012 – Instagram Updates Its Terms of Service to Match Facebook’s

Users: Instagram is giving itself the right to sell all of our personal information to any company it wants!

Facebook: *facepalm*

Sockpuppet Politic on December 18, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Your blanket declaration is that I am in fact a thief and I very much resent that. So to be rude you all can shove it up your self righteous backsides. Freaking self righteous internet cops are as bad as liberals.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Please re-read my posts and note the use of the word “some.” I even put “SOME” in all caps in my original post, and I certainly never made a personal reference to you.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Don’t worry if Instagram wants to sell your pictures, most people won’t want to buy them.

RAN58 on December 18, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Unless you’re hot.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Unless you’re hot.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I’m safe then.

Sockpuppet Politic on December 18, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Please re-read my posts and note the use of the word “some.” I even put “SOME” in all caps in my original post, and I certainly never made a personal reference to you.

Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM

My apologies you are correct. As I stated the “for profit” was used by me because that is what is being talked about.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I’ve never used it but it does seem a little ironic that SOME people who have ignored the copyrights of others for years and posted and used others intellectual property on the net for free now find it outrageous that photos they published may now be used and sold by some else without compensation.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Captain Kirock on December 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Zing! A good point. I’m pretty sure the overlap of Instagrammers and Napsters/Limewire users is HUGE.
Mary Katharine Ham on December 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Meh. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t made use of unauthorized/copyrighted material from sites such as YouTube.

whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

So what they are using is really a copy of your picture and they still don’t have right to the original. Makes sense but about the statement that if you delete your stuff after a certain date they can still profit from it. I would think that if using their service is by default giving them permission to use your copies as they see fit that removal of your copies at any time is denying them that permission.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Meh. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t made use of unauthorized/copyrighted material from sites such as YouTube.

whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Pay closer attention. YouTube is dealing with this effectively. When you use somebody’s track in your video, they retain the rights and MAY benefit from any monetization. Video content creators may not profit from content they do not have the rights to…not for long at least.

The ads, the links to purchase, all of that is available to rights-holders for revenue-sharing.

YouTube is very pro content-creator. It’s up to rights-holders to protect their content. YouTube goes a long way toward assisting in that effort.

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Meh. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t made use of unauthorized/copyrighted material from sites such as YouTube.

whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Well I’m one of those. I do secret work and I would be fired if I got caught doing such things. It is considered a possible chance to compromise me. Heck I got into all kinds of trouble because I posted on a forum that hit to close to home for my work. I was also stupid and used my real name. Something I will never do again. That’s right, Dr. Frank Enstine is not my real name. My real name is Dr. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX oops. Got redacted again. :)

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Man, I should have said “The work I do is secret” one too many martinis me thinks.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM

If you are using an internet product for free (facebook, twitter, instagram), YOU ARE NOT THE USER!

YOU ARE THE PRODUCT THAT THEY ARE SELLING!

heldmyw on December 18, 2012 at 7:53 PM

That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which could trigger state privacy laws.

Some people have found themselves in deep doodoo having their picture taken and used by someone else without permission.

An art director told me the story of a photo shoot for an airlines ad. It was on a beach in Hawaii and the set was a luau with happy tourists. The photographer needed some extra people for the shoot and invited some who were looking on to join them.

Later, one of the impromptu extras in the print ad was recognized by his wife. This guy originally had told his wife he was on a business trip at that time somewhere in the mid west. So much for the alibi.

As I recall, somebody got sued.

Pazman on December 18, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Meh. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t made use of unauthorized/copyrighted material from sites such as YouTube.
whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Pay closer attention. YouTube is dealing with this effectively.
Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Whew! Am I glad you’re paying such close attention. Someone may have gotten the wrong impression that there’s unauthorized material on YouTube or something! Thanks for keeping a sharp eye out on this – it’s just free enterprise, that’s all!

whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Capitalist Hog on December 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

That was fair use — parody.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 8:12 PM

I would think that if using their service is by default giving them permission to use your copies as they see fit that removal of your copies at any time is denying them that permission.

Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:41 PM

One would hope that the click-through contract was written that way. If it wasn’t, well….

That’s why I don’t host any of my pictures on servers which are not owned by me. There’s too much ambiguity, and owning the place on the web from whence the pictures come resolves that.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

My real name is Dr. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX oops.
Frank Enstine on December 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Any relation to the Poughkeepsie XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXs?

whatcat on December 18, 2012 at 8:16 PM

…don’t believe them!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2012 at 9:50 PM

frankly…..it should be called INSTAPORN.

It has the potential to put down the whole porn industry…….why pay for it when people across the planet will show you everything fi free?

Know wonder Instagram wants to own the pictures.

PappyD61 on December 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM

My husband, who’s an avid photographer but never had an Instagram account, is now happy he stuck with Flickr, which has rules more in line with Instagram’s old terms of service.

And in one fell swoop, MKH dashes the hopes and dreams of innumerable young conservative men.

dczombie on December 19, 2012 at 1:50 PM