Facebook Claims Right to Sell Your Instagram Photos; Continues Aggressive Strategy of Becoming Destested
Back in April I described 2012 as “The Year of the Forced Upgrade” and made the not-particularly-revolutionary claim that end users were no longer the target market of social media sites like Facebook, but rather part of a product it was selling to other corporations. About a month later I predicted a fast and ugly slide in quality for Facebook after founder Mark Zuckerberg finished playing with his start-up and handed it off to Wall Street types.
Facebook-owned Instagram seems set to cheerfully confirm those predictions this week, with a new intellectual property policy that effectively gives the company unlimited right to use or sell anything you post via Instagram. As CNET noted yesterday,
Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.
You’re also locked in as of January 16 — if you have an account at that time, anything on it is fair game, and likely will be forever, even if you later delete the content or your account. All your Instagram photos can, at that point, be used for anything Instagram wants, including selling them to third-party companies for their use. You, obviously, do not see a dime, or even a byline.
I pointed out last month that the Facebook copyright hoaxes were based on an absurd premise — what are you posting on Facebook that you’d want to copyright anyway? But pictures you took yourself have at least a little more artistic gravitas than cat GIFs, and I’m a little surprised that the company is so openly making a grab to fully monetize that particular asset.
Let’s all be clear on the legality and ethics here — Facebook and Instagram can write whatever policy they please, and as long as you’re storing your data on their servers, you’ve agreed to whatever terms they set forth for the use of that data. There’s nothing wrong with this particular move.
It’s just eminently dislikeable, much like all the other recent changes in Facebook.