Instagram Can Sell Your Photos Under New Policy

The photo sharing app's new terms of service say user photos could be used in ads or licensed to other companies, without pay or notification to users

By Sam Schulz
|  Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012  |  Updated 6:22 PM EDT
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Instagram Can Sell Your Photos Under New Policy

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Instagram's new terms of service give the company the right to license your shared photos to other companies and not pay or notify you for them.

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Update: Following widespread user complaints, Instagram said it would revise its planned update to its service agreement, and assured users that their photos will not appear in ads. Full story here.
 

If the picture in that ad looks familiar, that soon could be because it's one you took and shared on Instagram.

With its sweeping new terms of service, the photo sharing app claims the right to use and license any photos posted by users, without notifying them or paying them a cent.

The new policy, which takes effect Jan. 16, would let Instagram use photos posted on its platform in its own advertisements and would also let it license them to companies or any other organization, including for their own ads.

There's no way to opt out of the policy, short of deleting one's account before Jan. 16.

It applies to underage users as well as adults, with teens certifying parental consent when they sign up. It could also affect people who don't even use Instagram; they could show up in ads if their friends photograph them and share the pictures on the app, The New York Times noted.

The new policy has already raised the hackles of plenty of users, as well as plenty of questions about how it will be put into effect.

CNET wrote that the policy would effectively make Instagram a massive stock photo agency — one that bypasses paying its photographers. It also questioned whether Instagram would still reserve the right to use past photos posted by users who delete their accounts after Jan. 16.

Instagram's terms of service update follows a similar one last week by Facebook, which bought it for $1 billion in April, Politico reported.

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