As a semi-professional photographer who is constantly thinking about the value of his work, the impending changes to the Instagram terms of service, which apparently grant them the right to sell my images, don’t quite sit right. Obviously a service with overhead costs needs to make money to survive. And anything free like Instagram is only nominally so; often the revenue is in the data collected (personal, demographic, location, etc.), even if that is still a nebulous revenue generation scenario. This I can live with. It’s the new social network social contract. But to take any (get ready to roll your eyes) artwork produced and use it to profit without any compensation or attribution to the (roll those eyes back now) artist is commonly understood as an abusive relationship for creators to be in. Maybe my language is too strong here. It is just Instagram. It’s just pictures of Brunch. It’s still not right. At least, it’s not right for me. I need to be able to say if and when my images are used gratis, and even then it’s never going to be without attribution if I can help it. Even if it’s a snapshot sent through a standardized adjustment filter.
Here’s to hoping the public outcry leads to an amendment of the TOS. If not, I’ll probably throw in the Instagram towel.
Yahoo must be throwing a party right now after incidentally timing the release of their revamped Flickr app so fortuitously.