Yesterday, Instagram made an announcement that really pissed everyone off.
Basically, they made it so that any pictures a user uploads to the social media/photography sharing site are fair game for them to use for ads. Since we know that Facebook bought out the rights to Instagram not too long ago, this means that Facebook can basically buy the rights to pictures of anything– but the photographer will get nothing.
That means everyone wins but the one who did the work.
Obviously, this is creating a bit of a stir. Twitter and Facebook are alight with enraged status updates, and people stating they are canceling any accounts they have with Instagram. Here’s the worst thing: canceling the account or deleting all your albums may not get them out of Facebook’s colossal social media hands. The policy doesn’t make it clear whether or not they will own the rights to things even after they’ve been removed. Anything you’ve ever put up on Instagram may be fair game now. Every single picture.
Now, I’d be the first to tell you I think Instagram isn’t an outlet for the most creative minds of our generation. Most people run a filter or two over something and think they just made masterpieces. And those masterpieces are usually pictures of food. Or clouds.
But there’s a fine line here. These pictures may not be the work of Ansel Adams (if you don’t know who that is, take some art courses!), but creative rights to them still belong to the person who took them. Put more simply, they took the damn picture. How are you going to pay whomever owns what they took a picture of, and not the person who actually took the picture?
It’s sort of like paying only the coach of a NFL football team, with the players getting tackled to the ground for free. And the injury list is pretty high for Instagram at the moment; a lot of their users are leaving the game. If they don’t want to see Instagram lose a lot of its stock real quick, they’ll probably better explain the details of this policy change soon.
And if these policies don’t have a good explanation for these changes, then they’ll be just another thing ruined by corporate greed.