As I’m sure all you techies have heard by now, Instagram recently changed their TOS (terms of service), and the public isn’t too happy about it. “All your photos belong to us…and other companies we decide to sell them to!”. Here’s why I could care less about this change, and why I’m not rushing to delete my Instagram account.
Instagram’s TOS Change
In a nutshell, this new TOS change allows Instagram to sell the photos that you publish, after January 16th, 2013. They’re also not required to give you credit, or any portion of the revenue made from the photos that they sell of yours. For instance, if a local bakery is looking for images taken in or around their shop, they can purchase your photos directly from Instagram to use in their advertisements.
The Average User
I took a few moments to look through a few dozen Instagram accounts of my friends, and people I follow. Almost all of them fall into the category which I call “average Instagram user”. These are people who want a simple service to share their daily happenings with their friends/followers. The meals they eats, the places they go, and the occasional ‘duckface’.
Sure, there are the few sures who post their ‘professional’ work on Instagram, but I think I can safely say that the majority of their users have signed up to share pictures of their animals.
Why I Don’t Care
As an “average Instagram user” who posts a lot of pictures of my dog, I could care less what Instagram does with my photos. I didn’t sign up to make money, nor did I sign up to become famous. I signed up to share my daily happenings with my friends, and nothing will change. If a company out there really wants to purchase an image I took of my last meal, or a random building I passed by, TAKE IT!
You Still Own It!
No where in the Instagram TOS does it say that ownership of the photo can be sold. Only displayed. So if you’re worried about losing ownership of your grilled cheese sandwich photo, stop worrying! Yes, your photos may be displayed on a company advertisement, but they don’t own it. Relax!
This Ain’t SmugMug!
Let’s get this straight, people. Instagram isn’t the place to share your professional, copyrighted material. Yes, people do, but there are many other websites that you can post your material in much higher quality, and without having to crop out most of the photo. If you currently share your professional work on Instagram, STOP! Come January 16th, any photo you upload after that date is subject to this new TOS change.
A good suggestion from JC Ruiz in the comments below. If you’re really concerned about companies buying your low resolutions, 4:3 photos, pop a watermark on there! Sure, there’s always Photoshop, but at that size and resolution, even if the company hires someone to remove it, they’ll probably be left with a mess! Make them work for those photos!
January 16th is still a month away. With the public outcry surrounding this issue, Instagram/Facebook can still make revisions to its terms. Don’t go deleting your Instagram account just yet.