After being acquired by Facebook earlier this year, Instagram have announced that they’re effectively going to co-opt intellectual property rights on all the images uploaded to their service.
They’ll soon be able sell non-derivative usage rights on, for commercial purposes, even—in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram images started popping up more in MailOnline’s ‘Sidebar of Shame’ in lieu of the more high-fidelity (and expensive) predatory photographs taken by paparazzi photographers. Are you a minor celebrity and did someone Instagram you in a public place? If that photograph gets used to imply your endorsement of some shitty clothes shop, you will be powerless.
Here’s the question: why are we, in the least bit, surprised by this? Instagram needed a revenue source. Facebook’s revenue model is well-defined: sell advertising, and co-opt your intellectual property. The article I’ve linked to, by Dan Gookin of for Dummies-books fame, includes an excerpt from Facebook’s 2008 TOS, and succinctly dissects it as such:
My point is, when you post that cute picture of your kids on Facebook and you find the picture being used a few years later in Germany to sell soap, there is nothing you can do about.
That article was written four years ago.
It’s alarming how much relevance it retains today.