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Instagram Rights Grab


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#1 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 15:34

Instagram will be able to license or use your images without notice or payment:

http://www.ibtimes.c...tos-without.htm

The only way to opt out is to delete your account before the new policy becomes effective.

This post has been edited to reduce the confusion caused by the word "sell". It appears some view "sell" as a transfer of all rights.

Edited by Ron Scubadiver, 18 December 2012 - 22:02 .

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#2 Anthony

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 15:53

This is going to cause problems even beyond copyright issues.

Suppose you live in a country where privacy laws prohibit publication of photos of individuals without consent (e.g. France or Norway). Maybe it is considered OK to publish such photos for purely personal use, eg a restricted Instagram page viewable only by a small group of friends. Or maybe nobody who cares about the privacy issues gets to see the relevant page.

Facebook might now sell the right to that photo to someone who publishes it in a commercial context, perhaps advertising a product that the person in the image objects to.

The photographer, by signing up to Instagram, has licensed publication of that photograph and therefore is now in breach of the privacy laws of his home country.

#3 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 16:40

In the US the restriction is on commercial use. If Instagram sold the image for commercial use (advertising) that would allow a civil suit in the US.
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#4 FredCrowBear

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 17:27

Another link regarding same issue:

http://news.cnet.com...ll-your-photos/

#5 Dallas

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 18:29

This is just another hysterical online reaction to a misinterpretation of the company's terms of service. I've seen at least 3 of these reports online today, all of which fail to point out exactly where Instagram are making these claims on their members' IP.

This is from the "Rights" section of their new TOS:

Rights
  • 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 or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, 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. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.
  • You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

The first point is pretty clear. They do not own your content. But when you upload your images to their service you are in effect giving them the rights to publish the images on their website, based on your privacy settings.

The second point is where the confusion is coming in. What they are saying is that when they display your images they reserve the right to do so next to advertising. The wording here could be better, but the way I understand it, it's no different to what Facebook are doing by putting sponsored material in your feed that might be connected to the content in some way (usually by keywords). Same thing has existed on community based sites for ages, including this one. All they're doing is covering their asses by saying that you agree to them doing this.

It doesn't say anywhere in the TOS that they own your material or that they will be able to use it in advertising. What they're saying is that you are granting them the right to put advertising next to your images without getting paid for it. Big difference in interpretation.

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#6 makmanos

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 18:54

I agree with Dallas in the interpretation What they are describing in their TOS is what Facebook is already doing with your content. You see sponsored content next to your friend's own content which could be associated to something they liked or posted about.
It seems to me that what they are saying is that you are giving them the right to use the content you publish on their site (including pics, likings, username etc) in connection with advertising without paying you for that.

Edited by makmanos, 18 December 2012 - 18:56 .

-Manos

#7 davepaterson

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 20:08

Item 1. seems like an absolutely straightforward rights-grab to me. The only rights retained by the user (poster) are perhaps some residual controls over who can view their images on the service, in other words on the Instagram website. It gives them no rights, control or compensation over the images Instagram has sold, licenced, sub-licenced or otherwise used in any way they or their licensees see fit, including publication on other websites or in the printed media.

2. is open to interpretation except for the fact that metadata is included in the rights-grab. Metadata may include name, address, email address, telephone number etc. - all privacy gone.

3. We won't tell you how, when, where, how often or for how much we are pirating your images.

Dallas - if you think Instagram's actions are ok, I would have to start worrying about posting images on NG.
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#8 Dallas

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 20:24

Please point out where it says that they may sell your images if you put them on their website. It doesn't because they can't and most certainly wouldn't dare.

They are merely illustrating that they reserve the right to use your content as a driver of advertising revenues on their own website. Example: you post a photo of a cat to Instagram. They are then allowed to put advertising on that page that might relate to cat products. They also reserve the right to not call such a thing a sponsored piece of content. That's all.

For what it's worth the only advertising you are likely to see on this site (Nikongear/Fotozones) is advertising for products I sell or endorse, such as safaris and workshops. We remain a community driven endeavour that is 100% independent of corporate influence. All revenues with the execption of perhaps the occasional commission from Amazon are derived from member subscriptions and donations.

Clicking on an ad just once a day will help me tremendously with financing this site. 

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#9 Alan7140

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 20:45

Common sense by a judge thankfully saw Apple lose its attempt to have Samsung Smart Phones banned on the back of its win on some patent breaches (regarding rounded corners and other inanities). The corporate greed being demonstrated by Apple at the moment should be tempered with the fact that unquestioning, blind loyalty can turn to raging hate in the merest instant.

From past experience this exact same image issue imploded the once popular Adobe Photography forum. Using other peoples photographs to promote one's own product with no offer of compensation constitutes theft in my book, even if there is notice given that using said product to post that image allows the manufacturer to do this, particularly when the condition is made after the product has been marketed and sold under different conditions. Kind of like a jeweller mounting your diamonds in a custom necklace necklace and charging you for it but then demanding to use it at a trade show to further his business without paying for the privilege.

#10 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 22:07

Please note that I have edited the OP. When I used the word "sell" I did not intend to mean a transfer of all rights.
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#11 davepaterson

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 22:08

Dallas: "Please point out where it says that they may sell your images if you put them on their website"

"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 . . . "

I'm sure any lawyer would argue that allows them to sell licences to third parties.

Edited by davepaterson, 18 December 2012 - 22:09 .

Dave Paterson

#12 Bart Willems

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 22:51

"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 . . . "
I'm sure any lawyer would argue that allows them to sell licences to third parties.


Did they just change the TOC because of all the backlash?


This is what I just pulled from the Instagram website:

  • 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.

The first article is no longer an unlimited rights-grab, and the second article is a lot clearer about the meaning -- not advertisements anywhere, but on the Instagram site and related to your content. Basically, the same as facebook does.

But they're completely different from what Dallas earlier quoted...
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#13 Bart Willems

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 23:07

Ah, yes, they have backtracked on their TOS.

What suprises me with these episodes is
  • The expectation to get away with it—with millions of customers you expect no one to read that stuff
  • Insisting on the widest rights-grab available. This sounds to me like corporate lawyers “let's include anything we can” which works fine with the photo contest of a local newspaper but is likely to backfire amongst a large crowd
  • Again and again and again...
  • The fact that a much scaled down alternate is available the same day, claiming that the first one was "easy to misinterpret." I have a suspicion that the "easy to misinterpret" part was there on purpose.

On the other hand: I doubt "plan B" for any company is to sift through millions of bad iphone shots to find the few that you can sell as microstock for a few bucks each. All-inclusive rights are more about corporate laziness and less about a sinister plan to sell all your images behind your back.
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#14 Anthony

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 23:16

This is a major climb-down. The original new terms were a significant change. There was no sale of rights, but there was a grant of a perpetual royalty free licence with a right to sub-license, not in any way limited to the operation of the site. There are more ways than one of killing a cat. Essentially, Instagram would have become a stock agency, but with no payment to photographers.

It is very interesting to see how quickly the outcry of members has forced them to backtrack. They now have to work extra hard to repair the damage to their reputation. People will watch their TOS very carefully now.

Edited by Anthony, 18 December 2012 - 23:16 .


#15 yunfat

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:26

People still use instagram and facebook?
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#16 retief

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:50

I just heard a discussion about this on my drive home, and indeed it looks like the Pres/CEO have backtracked and somewhat apologized for the confusion. One interesting comment, and I have no idea if this is true or not, is that they did not say that this was just a "misinterpretation" of what was first in the TOS. Was this just an honest mistake? Who knows, but it does make you wonder. As to your point, Dallas, I am not sure I care if a photo of mine is "sold" to an advertiser, or if Instagram just "happens" to put it along with a paid ad, it looks the same and is there to accomplish the same purpose, money for Instagram. The Advertiser is enticed to advertise by the photographs begin available for free, so they do not need to buy content either. At the very least another erosion of an already dwindling market.
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#17 Dallas

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:17

Well, when I read the first sensational report on the alleged "rights grab" I immediately thought that sounds like a crock of shit. Turns out I was right. There is no ways any corporate identity in this day and age would have the gall to blatantly assume ownership of intellectual property shared on a social network. To do so would open them up to so much legislation that they would most certainly disintegrate before they could even cash their first royalty cheque on your photos.

So, what happened in this case is that somebody* with a penchant for creating alarm and confusion read through the new TOS, misinterpreted the admittedly vague meaning, and then went about with an internet loud hailer telling everybody that Instagram was going to sell their images as stock to whoever wanted to buy them. The resultant pandemonium saw the news industry begin to repeat the "story" all over the place (ironically together with massive amounts of advertising on their own story pages) and what we end up with is a whole bunch of people being misled into believing something without first checking the facts. This is how wars begin.

Journalism has become a joke in the internet age.

* take your pick of suspects: microstock companies, people looking for traffic on their own sites, members bearing axes...

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#18 jramskov

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:53

There's also this article: http://www.theverge....hey-really-mean
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#19 wildoat

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:45

Well, when I read the first sensational report on the alleged "rights grab" I immediately thought that sounds like a crock of shit. Turns out I was right. There is no ways any corporate identity in this day and age would have the gall to blatantly assume ownership of intellectual property shared on a social network. To do so would open them up to so much legislation that they would most certainly disintegrate before they could even cash their first royalty cheque on your photos.

So, what happened in this case is that somebody* with a penchant for creating alarm and confusion read through the new TOS, misinterpreted the admittedly vague meaning, and then went about with an internet loud hailer telling everybody that Instagram was going to sell their images as stock to whoever wanted to buy them. The resultant pandemonium saw the news industry begin to repeat the "story" all over the place (ironically together with massive amounts of advertising on their own story pages) and what we end up with is a whole bunch of people being misled into believing something without first checking the facts. This is how wars begin.

Journalism has become a joke in the internet age.

* take your pick of suspects: microstock companies, people looking for traffic on their own sites, members bearing axes...


Dallas,

you are right on the money.

I read all the articles very thoroughly and if anyone else did the same
you would have to realise it was a load of BS.

Sensationalist journalism in the extreme, though it got them some exposure good or bad!

Tony
 

 

 

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#20 Bart Willems

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 14:09

Dallas,

you are right on the money.


Partially... there's no denying that the old new TOS did contain the phrase 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. Given the avalanche of newspapers that tries to extend their collection of photos on stock with the exact same wording, it is not a miracle that this raises red flags.

Surely it is followed by the sentence 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, but that is a bit like screaming “FIRE!!!” in a movie theater, followed by mumbling “keeps you warm on a cold winter night.” Yes, that was a perfectly harmless sentence, but don’t act surprise when you're causing a lot of panic.

The question remains why Instagram, without a doubt having access to an army of highly skilled lawyers, came up with such a stupidly worded TOS, especially when there's not exactly a lack of historic reference material of other large internet services (Facebook being the most notorious example) that there's ( a ) no need to start with an all-inclusive “as wide as we can” license and ( b ) that it will kick up a shit storm and that you'll have to back down to something less ambigious and far more limited. All you ever get out of this is seriously pissing off your customers. I hope they fired half their legal staff for delivering such shoddy work.

On a side note: why does everyone think that being a stock agency is such a profitable business? Half of them are going bankrupt or are struggling, and that's with the photographers who deliver high quality content providing the time-consuming keywording. Instagram on the other hand, has photos without keywords, taken by limited cameras (yes you can take great pictures with the iPhone. But it's always the same wide angle lens, the same aperture and image quality goes out of the window when the lighting conditions are less than ideal) and to top it off three quarters of their pictures are wrecked by post filters to give that image the "authentic" look of a faded polaroid that somehow managed to came out of a particularly badly manufactured holga. Reality call: your pictures are usually not that good and there's no evil conspirancy to sell them for high profit.

Edited by Bart Willems, 19 December 2012 - 14:10 .

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