SOCIAL IRONY

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At the end of April Photoshelter published a blog post on Instagram that summed up the vaguely bipolar relationship between photographers and social media:
“Why Instagram is Terrible for Photographers, and Why you Should Use It.”
The post opens quoting Instagram’s terms of use policy and describing it as a “rights grab.”
 …By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, 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…”
A photographer’s profits stem from managing their intellectual property rights. By agreeing to terms like Instagram’s the user loses control of who can use their images, the purpose of their use and most importantly the cost of use.
While the average person could laugh at the idea of their profile picture used in a Facebook marketing scheme, for a professional photographer losing even the slightest control of an image that has put food on their table is, to say the least, scary.
But considering the value of social media, especially for photographers, is it possible to avoid such abusive terms of use? So far the answer has been ‘well, kinda.’
On Facebook pages photographers often do not publish their images. They instead opt for promotional material of events or pictures of themselves from workshops they’ve attended. Often they will link to external web galleries. 
All told, the reality that may be keeping the peace between photographers and social media is that (to the best of my knowledge and research) no images have been used without permission. While the terms of use may seem fairly straightforward the legal system rarely is, and lawsuits are best avoided.  

At the end of April Photoshelter published a blog post on Instagram that summed up the vaguely bipolar relationship between photographers and social media:

“Why Instagram is Terrible for Photographers, and Why you Should Use It.”

The post opens quoting Instagram’s terms of use policy and describing it as a “rights grab.”

 …By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, 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…”

A photographer’s profits stem from managing their intellectual property rights. By agreeing to terms like Instagram’s the user loses control of who can use their images, the purpose of their use and most importantly the cost of use.

While the average person could laugh at the idea of their profile picture used in a Facebook marketing scheme, for a professional photographer losing even the slightest control of an image that has put food on their table is, to say the least, scary.

But considering the value of social media, especially for photographers, is it possible to avoid such abusive terms of use? So far the answer has been ‘well, kinda.’

On Facebook pages photographers often do not publish their images. They instead opt for promotional material of events or pictures of themselves from workshops they’ve attended. Often they will link to external web galleries. 

All told, the reality that may be keeping the peace between photographers and social media is that (to the best of my knowledge and research) no images have been used without permission. While the terms of use may seem fairly straightforward the legal system rarely is, and lawsuits are best avoided.  

Filed under media photography intelectual property rights photoshelter social media irony social irony