Instagram has had its share of ups and downs during its 2 short years of life, but we think we can safely say that this past week has been the lowest of lows for the popular-but-beleaguered photo sharing service. After hastily pushing out major edits to its terms of service in preparation for money-making plans, users complained, the media pounced, and Instagram backtracked, saying it would revise the terms to appease its users.
Those revisions happened today. Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has announced that key sections of the service’s terms have been rolled back to its original 2010 condition.
If you had any doubts regarding how much of a part of our culture Instagram has become, just take a peek at the public outcry that erupted after Instagram announced changes to its policies yesterday. The controversial edits were reported in media outlets around the world, and legions of die-hard Instagram fans took to social media channels to protest them.
People mainly focused on a section of the document that appears to give Instagram sweeping permissions to sell photos without consent or compensation to third-parties for advertising purposes.
Amateur Photographer sparked an outcry among photographers this past Tuesday after it pointed out a section in the London Olympics’ ticketholder policies that states:
Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet more generally, and may not exploit images, video and/or sound recordings for commercial purposes under any circumstances, whether on the internet or otherwise, or make them available to third parties for commercial purposes.
Shortly after we reported on the story yesterday, a spokesman for the Olympics organizing committee (Locog) issued a response stating that they “are not looking to stop private individuals from posting photographs on social networks,” and that the intent is to prevent photos being used for commercial purposes. He did, however, acknowledge that the wording is unclear, saying that it will likely be clarified when tickets are mailed.
(via Amateur Photographer via TheDigitalVisual)
Image credits: Image by London 2012
There has been a lot of discussion regarding social media sites and their scary-sounding terms of services that always sound like rights-grabs. Here’s what Photoshop guru Scott Kelby had to say after trying out Google+:
Of course, when it comes to posting photos on any social media site, the discussion always turns to copyright issues, and honestly I don’t personally have any problems with Google+’s terms. I don’t think Google is going to steal all my photos and use them for their own evil purposes (in fact, I’ve never read a single story about some big photo-sharing site misappropriating a photographer’s photos, or anything along those lines, so I just don’t sweat it. I know, I know….I’m totally naive—the big corporations are actually secretly out to get…..[wait for it...wait for it]…free photography).
Here’s what I do know: any time lawyers get involved in stuff like this, you’re going to have a lengthy legalese document that makes it sound like Google+ (or Facebook, or Twitter) is going to grab all your rights for now and eternity, when all they’re actually trying to do is keep their client (Google+ in this case) from getting sued.
Scott also writes that the magazine he publishes (Photoshop User) has similar scary-sounding terms that his lawyers tell him are needed to avoid “getting sued into oblivion”.
I’m Kind of Digging Google+ [Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider]
A little update to the recent brouhaha over Google+’s Terms of Service: Tom W of Getty Images posted the above message to fellow Getty members on Flickr informing them that Getty’s lawyers have no problems with the ToS. He writes,
The important thing to watch out for in Terms of Service, and it’s the same as we’ve talked about for contests, is that whatever they do (or allow third parties to do) with the images should be in the context of the service itself, not to re-license or otherwise commercialize the images to other parties (or even the main company itself) outside of the context they’re posted for.
Certain people have argued that uploading your photos to Google+ may hurt your ability in the future to sell exclusive licenses to images. If that’s what you’re worried about, it’s probably safer to keep your photographs off the Internet completely, since every content sharing service on the Internet requires at least a license to display your photos using their service.
Last week Scott Bourne published an article on Photofocus titled, “Photos On Twitter – What You Should Know“. In it, he claimed that Twitter’s terms of service (TOS) forced photographers to give Twitter a license to do whatever they wanted with photos shared through the service. The argument centered around a couple paragraphs found in the document:
By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
This was used to argue that Twitter owns a license to photos shared through the service. Read more…