Instagram could sell your photos soon

Instagram has just released a new photo policy that will come into effect January 16, 2013 giving all Instagram users time to get on the Zuckerberg bandwagon or jump off. Facebook users have been down this road before with large sweeping legal statements that provides the social network with many rights to posted content. With over 1 billion users on Facebook, the policies did not seem to stop membership or use so it will be interesting to see what Instagram users will think of the new policy. The question is, is this new policy setting up Instagram for a new stock photo agency where they can sell the photos of users or is it legal jargon that is just making sure Instagram has covered all bases?

Let's see it from a different perspective – if you look for stock photos for Instagram – check out our article!

Instragram photo use and rights policy

The new photo use policy states the following and is in effect January 16, 2013:

  1. Instagram has the perpetual right to sell Instagram user's photos without payment, notification or credit. They can license the photos to companies or organizations for commercial use.
  2. Instagram can use photos taken by users without having to obtain model consent rights from the people who apprear in the photos.

What the new policy really means for users

With a few word changes from limited license to transferable and sub-licensable, Instagram is setting up their right to sell and use the photos without consent. The addition of these words ‘a business or other entity may pay us to display your photos without any compensation to you' does set up Instagram for a stock photo agency model.

Class action lawsuits can not be claimed against Instagram if it is that users are not happy. Instagram it seems is immune to class action suits. This is a pretty complete new policy that makes sure that Instagram has all that they need, leaving the user with nothing.

How to opt out of the new Instagram policy and retain your photo rights

Opt-Out InstagramIf you want to opt out of the Instagram policy you have up to January 16, 2013 to delete your account. If you delete your account before that time all of your photos can not be used under the new Instagram rules.

If you choose later to delete your account, meaning after January 16,2013 all of your photos CAN be used under the new policy. So it seems that all photos will be navigated over to an Instagram server or photo bank on January 16, 2013. If you dont want to have your photos used by Instagram delete your account before this date.

What would an Instragram stock photo agency look like?

As of September 2012 Instagram has 100 million users. If you have an average of 10 photos per user….that would be a stock photo agency with 1 billion photos. That is more photos than all the stock photo agencies put together. It is bigger than any stock photo agency could build at this point.

Facebook had put similar regulations on their photo rights for Facebook users, providing Facebook the right to all photos uploaded to Facebook accounts. To date, Facebook has not used the photos for their own purposes so this new policy could be legal jargon that is all encompassing. Instagrams policy has built in some additional items that was not in the Facebook policy but it could just be jargon to protect Instagram from…..something.

Bottom line is, be aware. Bottom line is, know that if you use Instagram they will have the right to sell, use and profit from your photos after January 16, 2013. Whether or not they do it is to be seen. The reaction to this new policy is less than positive for Instagram as no one knows their intention. If they do want to open a stock photo agency, it could change the entire stock photo business.

What do you think about the new Instagram policies? 

You don't have enough? Read what other major blogs and photographers say.

Image © rangizzz – 
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Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

1 Comment
  1. In my view, it’s a worrying yet unsurprising move by Instagram, especially as the former is now owned by parent company Facebook. Not content with folks posting photos on Facebook, the deep variety of photos *posted* on Instagram is an instant-made library ready for the taking. I should note that there are many DSLR photos on Instagram as well, though I imagine the numbers of DSLR photos on Instagram to be much smaller than on-board photo-snaps.

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