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Does Instagram want to sell your photos?

December 19th, 2012 by Gary Ennis

Facebook Buys InstagramEarlier this week, we blogged about Instagram images becoming less easily accessible when posted on Twitter, but it turns out that this is the least of everyone’s worries when it comes to their favourite photo sharing network! New terms and conditions were published on Tuesday which appeared to give the site ‘perpeptual’ rights to all images uploaded, and allow them to use your images for commercial purposes without credit or compensation – a move which inevitably caused a huge public backlash.

Co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, quickly released a blog entitled “Thank you, and we’re listening”, with the aim of reassuring their vast user base that their images would not be used without permission.

“Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone,” he wrote. “It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true … Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over photos … To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos.”

Systrom went on to explain that the new terms and conditions are intended to give Instagram the option the experiment with ‘innovative advertising’ rather than to rob users of their rights, saying: “We envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos and accounts to increase engagement and build a more meaningful following.”

In the opening of his blog, Systrom promises that “we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos,” so businesses need to await the updated document in order to fully consider the pros and cons of continuing to use the service.

The current proposed changes are due to take place on January 16th, but it’s important to keep an eye out for the forthcoming revisions so that you have time to assess whether the benefits outweigh the changes for your company.

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