I Thought the World Ended on Monday
December 21, 2012

Earlier this week, photo-sharing community Instagram updated its Terms of Service to include the following clause,

"You hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service"

Painstakingly written by their lawyers, the line basically means that they can sell your photos and make money out of them. That’s right. That photo you took while stuck on the road last Friday evening could be sold to Traffic Jam magazine.

I for one wasn’t too worried with the change because I don’t see my photos being valued more than the first prints of Snooki’s autobiography. But I could see how the news was a cause for concern for users who do upload worthy content onto the social network. National Geographic for example, has suspended their account in view of this development.

For regular users like myself however, there’s probably not much reason to cry foul over Instagram’s devious deed. They have already provided us with a free app that could make our house cats look like Siberian tigers. Not to mention that RM799 Samsung phones can now take photos like vintage 1965 Polaroid cameras.

But not many saw it that way. Instagram suffered a backlash and people were closing their accounts left and right and venting out about how Facebook, who acquired Instagram in April, was trying to make a return out of their investment -- which I’m guessing was the primary reason of purchasing the company for a billion dollars. Most of these rants, of course, took place on Facebook.

In light of the situation, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has come out to apologize and promise that they will revert to the old clause. (Heck they could have already said that they can sell our photos since the very beginning.)

The reactions to his statement have thus far been mixed. And the saga continues.

With only three followers on Instagram, I’m probably not in the best position to comment further on the issue. But I do hope that this won’t be a trend among app makers. The last thing I want is Draw Something selling my drawings to Badly Drawn Penis magazine.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
Published Travels
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Malaysia License.