Don’t feel bad. A 2017 Deloitte survey found that 91% of people consent to terms of service without reading them. For people ages 18-34, that rate was even higher, 97% did so.
Whether you are posting photos on Instagram for your main gig or side hustle, or just for fun, here’s what you need to know about what Instagram can do with them.
Spoiler alert. It’s not good.
You own your photos…
Yes, you own your photos. From the moment you snap a photo, your ownership or copyright in the photo begins. You can do whatever you want with it, including posting it on Instagram.
Posting your photos on Instagram doesn’t transfer ownership to Instagram.
…but you give Instagram the right to do whatever it wants with your photos
But we all know nothing in life is free. Here’s the catch.
In exchange for your access to the marvel that is Instagram, you give Instagram a license. License is another word for permission. You are giving Instagram permission to do certain things with your photos. As it turns out, a lot of things.
Let’s break down the legalese.
Instagram can do anything with your photos or use them for any purpose
Translation. Instagram can do whatever it wants with your photos for any purpose. It can modify your photos. It can use your photos in promotions. It can create derivate works (like putting your photo in a montage or adding your video to someone else’s video).
Instagram can give away or sell these rights to anyone
Let’s back up to “transferable, sub-licensable.”
The right to do anything with your photos or use them for any purpose? Instagram can give away those rights without having to go back to you and ask your permission. Or even give you notice.
Instagram will never pay you a single cent
“Royalty-free” means Instagram never has to pay you anything.
Putting this all together, Instagram can do whatever it wants to your photos and use them for any purpose, it can give away or sell these rights to anyone, and it never has to pay you you a single cent or even let you know.
And it gets worse…you could be sued
“Non-exclusive” means you could give these same rights you gave Instagram to anyone else. While this sounds good, it could get you in trouble.
Let’s say you sell a photo you posted on Instagram to a third-party. If that third-party required you to sign a contract, chances are that contract requires you to give the third-party the “exclusive” right to the photo. If you’ve already posted that photo on Instagram, you’ve violated the contract.
It takes seconds to click through the terms of service, and it also takes seconds to give away a lot of rights. If you have a photo you think you might want to sell or license for money, don’t post it on Instagram.
Read the Disclaimer.
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 Siobhan Fitzpatrick.