By: Darden Copeland
Though its terms provide that Instagram does not claim ownership of your posted photos, it claims the next best thing. By posting on Instagram, you, “grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferrable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content.” That’s one hefty license. In essence, with the tap of your thumb, you give Instagram the right to use, disseminate, and even modify any of your posted photos for free and for any reason. Does this mean that you could be strolling along Times Square and see a large, blown-up picture of yourself that you once posted as a neat portrait for your followers to see—but this time with a massive mustache for the people of New York City to see? Yep, it does. Scary, right?
While all of this does sound bleak, there is a silver lining for Instagram users. The scary prospect of photos meant for several hundred finding their way before the eyes of literally everyone in the world is probably an unlikely scenario. Instagram is not likely to exploit its license that you granted it by blissfully clicking “accept” because it would deal a damaging blow to its reputation, and among other things it would cultivate a sense of weariness amid the social media platform’s users.
See Instagram Logo and Tagline, Logo and Taglines, (https://www.logotaglines.com/instagram-logo-tagline/).
See Nerushka Bowen, Who Owns Your Instagram Content, Social Media Law Bulletin, (Jan. 28, 2015), https://www.socialmedialawbulletin.com/2015/01/who-owns-your-instagram-content/.
See Caroline Cakebread, You’re Not Alone, No One Reads Terms of Service Agreements, Business Insider, Nov. 15, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/deloitte-study-91-percent-agree-terms-of-service-without-reading-2017-11(presenting survey results of individuals aged 18-34).
See Bowen, Who Owns Your Instagram Content, Social Media Law Bulletin, (Jan. 28, 2015).
See, e.g. Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel, Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users, The New York Times, (Sept. 28, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/technology/facebook-hack-data-breach.html(explaining that Facebook’s data breach hurt the website’s reputation).
See Instagram Logo and Tagline, Logo and Taglines.
Image Source: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT0blVcq0YN6pFe20bCTt44aTdulzefMtxroDO9xwMsJrwiPJP-