Friday, 21 December 2012

Instagram U-Turn? Fool me once...



Is it really that simple? Instagram have caved to community pressure, backed down, U-Turned, and given up on their nefarious plans to rob people of the riches that are to be found at the bottom of a sepia photograph of a half eaten donut?

Unlikely.

Let's take a look at what people were offended about:

Instagram selling their photographs without notice, without attribution and without payment ala a "stock photo library" business
Using their photos in adverts
Not displaying that their photos used in adverts were, indeed, adverts

So, by all accounts Instagram must have stopped all of this from happening, especially the first...right? I mean.. they "backed down"?

Let's see their revised terms as of this latest development...

  1. 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, subject to the Service's Privacy Policy, available here http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/, including but not limited to sections 3 ("Sharing of Your Information"), 4 ("How We Store Your Information"), and 5 ("Your Choices About Your Information"). You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy.
  2. Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service 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.
  3. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

So... "1" states that Instagram can take your content, transfer it to another party, license it to others, sell it...without needing to tell you (you agree to the terms by using the service, that is your "notification"), and with no guarantee of attribution.

"2" Says that your content will be able to be used with advertising, in a way that Instagram desires

and "3" says that people may never know if the content from their friends and others is being used as part of an advert.

What a monumental climb down from Instagram!

The reality is that practically the same situation is happening as was previously suggested. A multi-company approach to using your content requires new rights to allow that content to be shared without legal fallout for those involved. They were never going to do this in a way that abused your privacy choices as set out in the privacy policy (and now they are being more explicit in showing you where you can find out more about that), they were always going to use your content in ads (they were able to in the previous terms that have been in force already), and they haven't changed their stance on displaying content in a "paid for" manner without identifying that, a carbon copy of similar terms that Facebook has on it's service and has done for ages.

So, if you got all worried about Instagram in the first place...well, sorry if you were misinformed, be more vigilant about what legal terms mean if you were doing the misinforming. If you've fell for this bit of PR as something of a U-Turn for Instagram as well then...well...why haven't you learned from your previous mistake?

Fool me once...