Instagram just published their new terms and conditions stating that they would become effective on 01/16/13. The announcement was made today in a small rectangle that was featured at the top of the news section.
On closer inspection I discovered two paragraphs that, as an author and friend of many different authors that make a living out of selling their images, didn't seem right.
Here they are:
2. Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. [...]You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.
The second paragraph states that any of the images you might post on instagram could be used for advertising and that they can also use your name and personal information for this purpose. When you see other people's content displayed as advertising, you may, or may not know if it is a paid advertising.
The first paragraph states what I find most shocking: that you grant them the right license your images. This means that instagram could take a picture you have shot and posted on their app, sell it to another company and that company could use it for whatever they wanted: advertising, print, TV, etc. It also means that instagram doesn't have to ask you for permission to do so and, what is worse, that they will charge the company for buying your image but you, the photographer, won't get paid for its use.
I find these terms abusive. I am upset that after using instagram for more than two years I am forced to make a choice between letting them take over the rights to my work or leaving the online community I have grown so fond of. But I know now that if these terms become effective, I will leave instagram without a second thought.
It is because of this that I ask instagram to respect their users and revise their terms and conditions in order to let each of them decide if their work can be licensed and used under these conditions or not.