My Instagram account was created with my wanderings in mind – I found it to be an easy way to share some quick snaps with my followers and transport the images to various other social media sites. Since I am an amateur photographer, I take pride in the photos on my Instagram account. Mostly when people take my photos for their blogs or tweets, I’m always credited. That, to me, is satisfactory enough. It’s social media use, in a social media world. But now, those boundaries are being crossed.
According to an article on CNET.com, “Under the new policy, 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…That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo.”
If I used Instagram for recreational purposes, I’d say “fuck it, if someone really wants to use my photo of my friend and I making ‘duck lips’ to the camera on New Years Eve, be my guest.” But that’s not how I use Instagram – for the most part, at least. Yeah there are sometimes stupid photos that I post but oftentimes I am trying to help my readers and followers understand the places I am in, in the moment I am there.
Do I want to be compensated for my Instagrams? I mean that’d be awesome, but I’m not going to hunt down lonely bloggers to pay me for posting my cool image their Tumblr. What I don’t want however, is for a brand or a location or something similar to take my photo and call it theirs. I’m definitely the type of person who warrants credit when credit is due. The fact that most of my photos do highlight this Mexican resort or help followers vicariously travel with me through New York City, is not something for corporations to bastardize simply because they are too damn cheap to pay photographers.
In fact, I’d feel better if those who paid Facebook to buy my photos at least plugged the source where they got them from. “Photos by KatkaTravels” or “Follow KatkaTravels on Instagram” would be sufficient for me. It’s this idea that the people who take these photos and then have them essentially stolen by big-wig publications and their creative merit is never even touched upon.
So what’s the solution? Delete Instagram accounts? Demand the clause be taken out? Develop an even better social media photography app that doesn’t rape us of our creative rights? There is a good chance that with all of the uproar Instagram will conveniently take this part of the bargain out, and yesterday, co-founder Kevin Systrom released this statement. But in reality, the shittiness of the internet includes not being able to tell who is using your images and under what capacity.
In the meantime, feel free to experiment with The Next Wave’s Instagram Alternatives: 8 Great Choices.
What do you think about the new Instagram policies? Are travelers and photographers making too big of a fuss, or not enough?