Changes to Instagram’s terms of use frighten, confuse users

By Pankaj Ladhar

Instagram users in Miami and elsewhere in the country are struggling to comprehend the photo-sharing service’s new terms and whether they are comfortable with them.

For the uninitiated, Instagram is an app that allows a smartphone user to select filters to change the appearance of a photograph and then post that photograph to Instagram’s website or to Facebook.

Recently, Instagram changed its terms to indicate that if a company or other third party wants to pay Instagram to use content created with Instagram, it can do so and Instagram does not have to pay the user who generated the content in the first place.

In other words, it seems that if a company wants to use a picture that you took with Instagram, it can — and it will pay Instagram, not you.

In addition to alarming many of Instagram’s 100 million users, the new policy has upset some photographers and other creative professionals because it does not require consent or compensation. Understandably, creative professional believe they ought to be asked for permission and compensated for the use of their product.

Instagram’s new terms take effect Jan. 16.

We anticipate that this is the start of what is likely to be a stormy and passionate debate over intellectual property rights, privacy, technology and ownership of creative content. For that reason, we plan to keep an eye on what develops here and will report any significant developments back to you.

Source: CNN, “Instagram users revolt over privacy changes,” Doug Gross, Dec. 18, 2012