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instagram News & Insight

Opinion: Reasons I’m Not Deleting My Instagram Account | Wednesdays with Leo

By Leo Hoang on December 19th 2012


Like many people out there, I rarely read Terms and Conditions statements. I probably owe my Kidney to Apple as I’ve never read their terms and conditions. However, due to the recent outcry from Instagram users, I thought it’s worth giving it a quick read.

To me, reading the new ‘Terms of Use’ didn’t scare or upset me. Many users are upset with their images being potentially sold and profit being made off their work without consent. Of course this sounds absurd, but after a few hours of thinking about it, it’s really not going to affect me directly, nor a lot of the users out there.

The point that everyone is talking about with regards to the new ‘Terms of Use’ of Instagram is their ability to sell your images. Instagram has not taken ownership of this, so you would still own the rights to the images and sell yourself.

“Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.” – Proprietary Rights in Content on Instagram

Based on this statement, Instagram can sell your images and take 100% of the profits from this sale without even letting you know about it. It is quite upsetting to think that someone else has made profit from an image that you created; however you must ask yourself this question:

“Why are you uploading it to Instagram?”

Users who simply want to upload and share random photos with friends and family have nothing to worry about. They can simply set their accounts to “Private” and then they have nothing to fear as this content will not be sold and will still be shared amongst family and friends that you approve.

If you are posting on Instagram to gain a following, then Instagram has allowed you a free way of marketing yourself and giving you more exposure for the work you do!

If Instagram sells one of your images and makes money off of it, I’m sure in the scope of things, that’s still saved you money on marketing as this platform can allow you to push your name out worldwide if you have the correct image and correct hash tags.

If you are still in an uproar with regards to Instagram selling your pictures, then as before, you can set your account to private and this will not affect you at all, or you can simply watermark any images that you do not want sold as I’m sure the watermark will deter it from a buyer.

Otherwise your only option is to remove your account. However, before you remove your account, it’s probably worth knowing that Instagram has over 1 billion images hosted and 5 million added each day. The likelihood one of your images will be sold is very unlikely, and even if it does get sold, I can’t imagine much being paid for a low-res, square cropped version of it.

Instagram also announced that they would be revising their new ‘Terms of Use’ as they did say they were ‘listening’ to their users. Most likely they saw messages from big time celebrity’s such as Kim Kardashian who tweeted

“I really loved Instagram :-( I need to review this new policy. I don’t think its fair.”Kim Kardashian

For a celebrity of her stature, I can definitely understand why Instagram would potentially target her account for sale.

Kim Kardashian

I personally will not be deleting my account as any images I have uploaded to Instagram will be a low-res and cropped. Frankly, I will be shocked if one did get sold. If I ever found out one of my images got sold, then I have the full res, un-cropped version of it and I’ll be encouraged to try and push that for sale!

Most likely, the only commercial use for one of my images that I can think of would be to place them into a coffee table style book, and Instagram are simply planning on coming out with yearly anthologies with the “best-of” Instagram images. If they did that and I was chosen, I would be more honoured than offended.

But for any celebrity, such as Kim Kardashian, I can imagine the consequences being much more severe.
Instagram have announced they would be revising the ‘Terms of Use’, but even before they announced this revision, I personally was ok with it.

Would you be removing yourself from Instagram, or are you OK to accept these new Terms of Use? What are your thoughts?

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Leo Hoang is a professional photographer based in London who shoots Weddings, Events and Real-Estate.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Chance Nguyen

    Hi Leo, what get’s me is that people now a days get so upset with something didn’t cost them anything. Users love Instagram because it allows them to quickly share images in an interesting way. They forget that it took time and effort to make the app and since its being offered for free, there has to be other ways the creators make money. 
    People get all upset when there’s a possibility that someone else may make money off their work but they don’t realize is the free app that their using is someone else’s hard work. If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product. I wrote my own opinion piece on this yesterday:
    I’d love to get your thoughts.

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    • Leo Hoang

      That’s exactly my point. This is a free app which someone else created and maintained. They are merely placing value in their own work. You can still enjoy their app with it still being free and no images sold if your account is set to private, if you need to reach the millions of people, than this free platform has allowed you to do so if you remain public and accept their Terms of Use. I personally am ok with it, I am also a little more aware of what I upload to it, but ultimately, it’s still fine with me. 

      I’ll check out your Blog and let you know what I think ;)

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  2. Chance Nguyen

    most people threaten to switch banks, few people do.

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    • Leo Hoang

      Lol! A few years ago I was one of those people… lol… Too much paperwork involved in that… :S 

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  3. Skexone

    That statement obviously does not reserve instagram the right to sell (license) your images that they explicitly stated you retain ownership of. What it does grant them is a limited license to your images for uses of self promotion. Learn to read before you write such a ridiculous article.

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    • Leo Hoang

      The ‘Terms of Use’ state that if you upload to Instagram, then you grant Instagram fully-paid and royalty free license to use your images. Meaning they get the full payment and you get no royalties for it. It then goes on to saying “including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services” which means they can distribute your image as part of this license that you agreed too by uploading.

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