Instagram changes terms of service, but will pro photographers flee anyway?
The language we proposed ... raised [the] question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.
The photo-sharing service might not need to worry about losing food-snapping schmoes, John Paul Titlow writes, but it should fret about professional photographers fleeing:
Many photojournalists and other pros had trouble warming up to Instagram in the first place, assuaged only by its rapid rise and guarantee of a sizable audience. It's a great marketing tool for photographers, but ceases to be worth it once Instagram starts monetizing their work without compensating them.
Philadelphia photographer Neal Santos tells Titlow he's thinking of leaving.
Time magazine used Instagram to help it cover Hurricane Sandy. It asked photographers what they thought of the changes. "What they have done is signaled the end and failure of what could have been a revolutionary social media platform for visual communication. Now, I must take a step back and reassess my place on Instagram," Ben Lowy writes. "I will have to dramatically reduce my posts on Instagram under the new terms of service," Brooks Kraft says. "In the end, I may just close my account."
In a monstrously unscientific poll, I asked three photographers I know about their plans. One hadn't really messed with the app but the other two told me they are planning to leave the service, including Politico photographer Jay Westcott.
"Can't believe they want to do this," he writes in an email. "It's an unreal rights grab."
But Instagram "always had the right to use your photos in ads, almost any way it wants," The Verge's Nilay Patel writes. "We could have had exact same freakout last week, or a year ago, or the day Instagram launched." The new terms actually limit commercial use of users' photos. Patel does ding the service for rolling out the new TOS in such a clumsy manner. The hubbub, he says, really shows "how little we trust [Instagram owner] Facebook to do the right thing."
"Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos," co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in Instagram's blog post. "Nothing about this has changed."