Sneaky bastards over at Facebook/Instagram. I must admit. Very cleverly done. People complain. They appear as if they did change the rules favorably and everyone declares victory.

They lied. They didn’t. And you should tell everyone about this.

Sorry guys, this is far from over. Let me tell you the story. The other day I got an email from Instagram that read:

Our community has grown by many millions of people since we wrote our original Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. As we announced in December, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. These policies also now take into account the feedback we received from the Instagram Community. We’re emailing you to remind you that, as we announced last month, these updated policies will be in effect as of January 19th, 2013.

You can read our blog post that highlights some of the key updates. And remember, these updates don’t change the fact that you own your photos that you post on Instagram, and our privacy controls work just as they did before.

Thank you, The Instagram Team

But here is the ugly truth. Except that they grant you the generous right that you own your content – nothing changed.

Take a look at Instagram’s newly and favorably revised rules. As I said, nothing changed. See the bold and underlined portions.

  1. Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service’s Privacy Policy, available here, including but not limited to sections 3 (“Sharing of Your Information”), 4 (“How We Store Your Information”), and 5 (“Your Choices About Your Information”). You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy.
  2. Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.
  3. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.
  4. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; (iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.
  5. The Service contains content owned or licensed by Instagram (“Instagram Content”). Instagram Content is protected by copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret and other laws, and, as between you and Instagram, Instagram owns and retains all rights in the Instagram Content and the Service. You will not remove, alter or conceal any copyright, trademark, service mark or other proprietary rights notices incorporated in or accompanying the Instagram Content and you will not reproduce, modify, adapt, prepare derivative works based on, perform, display, publish, distribute, transmit, broadcast, sell, license or otherwise exploit the Instagram Content.


Instagram may choose to license your images of landmarks, your friends, other people, the kissing couple in the park. They may use it for advertising without telling you. They will not pay you for it and have right to use your images for anything they want. Best of all you are liable if a problem occurs with a third party, a copyright or other legal issue as a result of that use.

Please spread the word through your blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, and everywhere you can get support. Email them. The only email I could find is this:

Create a firestorm on Facebook. We have to change this. It is outrageous. Are you on board? Then do something. NOW.


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