Turns out that posting to Instagram might not be a great idea if you want to retain usage rights on your images.
A court ruled that Mashable can embed a professional photographer’s photo without breaking copyright law, thanks to Instagram’s terms of service. The New York district court determined that Stephanie Sinclair offered a “valid sublicense” to use the photograph when she posted it publicly on Instagram.
The case stems from a 2016 Mashable post on female photographers, which included Sinclair and embedded an image from her Instagram feed. Mashable had previously failed to license the image directly, and Sinclair sued parent company Ziff Davis for using Instagram embedding as a workaround.
Judge Kimba Wood noted that Instagram reserves a “fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable” right to photos on its service. If a photo is posted publicly, it also offers embedding as an option — which, in Wood’s estimation, effectively grants a sublicense to display the picture. “The user who initially uploaded the content has already granted Instagram the authority to sublicense the use of ‘public’ content to users who share it,” Wood wrote. That makes copyright questions moot.
Of course nobody ever reads the fine print of any service.
What does this mean, it sounds as if Instagram can use your images as it sees fit and can even license them to others. In short you have no control over what happens, how they are used. etc..
I have always said, if you don’t control or own the technology you are using – you are setting yourself up issues down the road.