Instagram May Be Thinking About Selling Your Stuff

by on December 18, 2012

in consumer

Instagram newsAs the web matures, users are starting to become more and more shocked by some of the business developments that take place.  But to be honest, it’s inevitable.

Blogging is slowly taking a hit as Google favors big business in the search realm.

Facebook is taking a hit as they look to monetize their existence beyond the billions they make now.

Twitter is starting to jam ads in and around your profiles and shoving sponsored ads down user’s throats.

Honestly, if you love a service you’ve been using, and you’re not paying for it, this is the inevitable path any organization must take if they want to stay afloat.  And the inevitable price users should pay.

Ads are one thing.  Free services off your work is another thing altogether.  But when you encounter a service that’s looking to sell your content, your original work, your photos, and not reimburse you for it, then suddenly there’s something very wrong with that business model.

And so is the case, as CNET and other new outlets are reporting, that Instagram is starting to ponder doing.

Per the headline,

Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos

Now Facebook has been revamping their usage regulations and in those regs are some interesting statements.  Depending on what you read and what impacts you, they can reserve the right to start charging for certain aspects of their service.  But that’s not an uncommon catch phrase in service agreements.

And for god’s sake folks, stop putting those disclaimers in your feeds.  They’re not binding in any way, compared to the usage agreement you’ve signed, or concurred with by clicking some “agree” button way back when you signed up for Facebook.

Why am I talking Facebook?  Because they bought Instagram and are behind the company now.

The issues cross various aspects of personal and professional worlds.

The new wording in the user agreement indicates that “Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.”

So if you took the  most beautiful image ever of your time at a resort or vacation spot, that place could pay Instagram for it (and rights usage fees can be pretty HUGE) and you would never see one red cent or might not even know about it.

And don’t forget, this permission could involve anything you put up there, including pics of your family, aka, your dog, your kids, your spouse.

Yea… I’m not having a warm fuzzy about this.  I’ve taken hundreds of images of NASCAR events and I’ll be damned if someone runs off with them.  That’s for sure!

I’m seriously surprised that they’ve chosen to attempt this route.  I know millions don’t always care about some aspects of the services they use.  It’s a sort of mentality.  Have you ever read the usage rights on your software you use on your computer?  It’s an eye opener actually.

But this seems tantamount of shooting one’s self in the foot.

But then again, this may not matter.  (Huge conjecture follows) If Facebook has bought Instagram, that would explain how the formats of images saved from FB have changed.  If you save a pic from your own profile or other location to your computer, they used to be jpg, but now they’re png files.

I have to wonder it that’s related to the purchase.

And if they are using Instagram in the background of Facebook, this COULD mean these new rules and rights are coming to a Facebook page near you!

For the moment, it’s being said that no one is saying that is what they’ll do, but the language in the service agreements sets things up for down the road, if they ever choose to do so.

And if they did, you’d be screwed, because at some point, users would all get very comfortable with the service, forget about this issue, and move forward.  Kind of like Michael Vick using dogs for fights, then getting forgiven and getting back on teams and building a new fan base.  But when the other shoe drops, in the case of Instagram, well, oops.

Is there anything any user can do?

Sure, but it’s all a pain in the ass.  You can watermark everything you upload.  You can stop using the service and use a different service.  (But any other service has to have its agreement service looked over too.)  You can start your own blog and post only to there and let friends and family know, and more.

I’m sure there are many different options, but users get comfy and won’t stray far if a service has become part of their lifestyle with their habits, social networks, smartphones, and more.  So in the end, I suspect, they think they’ve got the consumer.

Well, except for the aspect that CNET, ABC News and others have picked up in this quiet little update to the agreement language.  That sort of puts a crimp in any ulterior motives.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on the issue.  I had to vent. Now I feel slightly better…


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