Instagram/Facebook Apologizes. Backs Off New Policy to Hijack Your Photos
Seems Facebook’s social media reach worked against them this time. You can read the apology from Instagram here. Yesterday, I was made aware of Instagram/Facebook’s (Facebook owns Instagram) new Terms and Conditions that stipulated posting any photos to the Instagram site gave Instagram all rights, commercial and otherwise, to those images forever. You can read more in my original post. These rights included being able to sell those pictures to anybody they wanted, with no recourse available to the person who owned the photos and no compensation for the sale of those images to the rightful owner. In a nut shell, they were in the process of starting their own private Stock Photo Agency, by way of stealing the images their users had provided. This proves two very important points. One, photography is worth substantial amounts of money and two, there may be some truth in the unethical accusations made by the Winklevoss Twins. Mr. Zuckerburg once commented on the fact that FB is providing a free service so they should have the right to try and monetize it in any way they see fit. My response to that is, I’ve spent nearly $1000.00 this past year advertising with Facebook. That’s a legitimate way to monetize your business as opposed to the old fashioned art of stealing from your supporters.
Thankfully, Facebook’s immense reach and ability to spread the word was their downfall. Facebook/Instagram backed off the recently updated Terms and Conditions for Instagram that contained the offensive rights grab. A big hearty thanks to all of you who took to the social media sphere and voiced your concerns. Those pictures are yours and why should anybody have the right to take them and make money without your consent and compensation to you? Unfortunately, photographers have always been considered poor business people but those of you who stood up for the rights of your pictures, consider yourself on the road to becoming proficient in business.
Being good in the world of business is an honorable aspiration. By knowing when to stand your ground and get paid for what you do, you also gain the flexibility of being generous in other avenues of your life. In my case it’s my work with Polar Bears International/Arctic Documentary Project and many other nonprofit organizations that are important to me. Without the ability to make a living selling pictures, running photography workshops, etc., I would have no capacity to donate the time and efforts my office does to the nonprofits we think are doing important work. Instagram/Facebook, owned by a phenomenal businessman named Mark Zuckerberg, is not on my list of charities and therefore does not qualify for receiving the use of images for no charge. My point is, there are a lot of avenues to be generous with your photos, but giving them to multibillion dollar corporations, like Facebook, is not good business in any way.
Thanks again for all of you who stood up for your rights as individuals and quality photographers. Now if we could just get Facebook to stop stripping all Contact Information from the photos we upload. That’s my next goal. I’m hopeful all who voiced your concerns on the rights grab will help me raise this issue with Facebook as well. Lets get this one important change made now that we have some momentum.