If you’re not paying for the product, it usually means you are the product.

So what are the rights when it comes to using Instagram?

 The terms of use state that when signing up to Instagram, you are essentially accepting to be bound by their terms of agreement, and by not agreeing to these terms of use, well you are simply not allowed access to the service.

As the platform continues to grow, these terms have continued to be ignored like many other social media outlets. Simply acting as an irritating obstacle that must be overcome by ‘clicking yes’, in order to access the service, regardless if you have read the terms or not. Which lets be honest most of us haven’t…….

Today, Instagram has become one of the most renowned social networking applications. With it currently standing at 150 million users, with an average of 55 million photos shared each day and 3 photos uploaded every second.

However, with this constant inundation of photos, the real question that arises is who has the rights to these photos, you OR Instagram?

First of all Instagram is a free service, meaning anyone can have access to it without having to pay a cent. Secondly, under the copyright law, which claims that if you take a photo then you own the copyright to it, Instagram declares that it does not own the rights to any content. However, because the service is supported by advertising revenue, Instagram does have the right to share your content for advertisements and promotional purposes (Instagram, 2013).

One of the advantages of Instagram is the ability to sync your instagram account with other social media platforms such as facebook and twitter. But contrary to this, once your instagram photos are uploaded onto the Internet you are actually permitting social media sites a license to use your photos. The effect of this means that these social networking sites gain commercial profit for licensing your photos.

Since this rise in debate about who actually retains the rights to your photos, individuals like Philip Neustrom have responded by establishing a creative commons license. Neustrom’s, I am CCservice allows you to license your instagram photos under creative commons, which means that despite the fact that your photos are being released into the pubic realm, you are still retaining the credit.

And while Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram has stated, “It’s not our intention to sell your photos,” once you hit ‘share’ there is no guarantee that they are protected!


(Source: Google images)


Delsack, C, 2012, Who owns Photos and videos posted on Facebook, Instagram or twitter, viewed 24 March 2014, http://www.nyccounsel.com/business-blogs-websites/who-owns-photos-and-videos-posted-on-facebook-or-twitter/

Hawkins, S, 2014, Copyright and Attribution on Instagram, viewed 24 March 2014, http://sarafhawkins.com/instagram-copyright/

Instagram, 2013, Terms of Use, viewed 24 March 2014, http://instagram.com/legal/terms/

Neustrom, P, 2014, I-am-cc Manifesto, viewed 24 March 2014, http://i-am-cc.org/manifesto/


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