I’ve posted a few times about how much I love Instagram. You can see all my snaps on the (recently released) Instagram profile page. Unless you’re not one of my ‘followers’. In which case you can’t. I set my account to private, to combat spam. But all is not lost. I’ve long been sending all my Instagram shots to a Tumblr page. Instagram is a great service. And I won’t be using it any more. Indeed, I may well have deleted my account come January 16th. Assuming the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t delete it for me in a few days time. Why? The new TOS, which have been getting press here, here and here. In fact, this has been getting press everywhere today. And not good press.
I usually go with the flow over these sorts of things. And I’m pretty easy going with the use of my photos. Sharing is caring. All my photos on Flickr are Creative Common licensed. With the exception of commercial use. But it seems that that is exactly what Instagram wants to do with my photos. Sell them, and pocket the cash. All of it.
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.
There are a couple of caveats to this. Firstly, my interpretation could be wrong. Secondly, the TOS may be changed in response to the criticism the company is receiving. There is uproar. How many riots does Instagram want to be at the centre of? I wouldn’t be surprised if it is changed. Could it have been an accident? Facebook own Instagram. I’m sure their lawyers would have been involved. And they’ve been down this road enough times to know better.
This is sad stuff. That such a great photo sharing site should shoot itself in the foot so spectacularly. I’m minded to think that if these terms upset me, then they’ve screwed up big time. Like I’ve said, in this post and many posts before this, I’m really easy going about how my photography is used. Don’t we all dream of shooting a momentous shot? One that captures widespread attention? It happens to plenty of people. So how can Instagram fix it? Well, they could tear those TOS up and start again, and use some common sense this time. But I get the service has to earn money. If they feel this is the only route, then perhaps they should also offer a premium paid for service for those who want to opt out.
They’ve done this at a bad time in other ways. Flickr have just released a new app of their own, and it is freaking fantastic. Yahoo have been investing in Flickr lately, and it’s paying off. And their terms are wholly more acceptable. They won’t use your image without your consent. Full stop. I’m seriously bummed that the app is iPhone only. It’s the first time in my nearly two years as an Android Guy that I’ve wanted an iPhone. I’m sure it’ll get to my Galaxy S2 before too long though. But, for now, I’m stopping uploading to Instagram. I’m not going to invest time into a service that I might be about to ditch. I’d rather use Facebook, if I have to. Ironic, I know – but Facebook TOS appear to be a little more friendly.