Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom published a blog on Tuesday to answer some questions and issues having brought by recent changes in Instagram’s Terms of Service (ToS). In his post, he reiterated that his company never wanted to claim any ownership rights to photos uploaded in its servers and posted on its website. The first version of the company’s new ToS was just misinterpreted, he said.
Many users were so vocal in expressing their opinions about the most recent changes done to the company’s ToS. Others allegedly deactivated their accounts in disappointment and not being able to bear the thought that the free photo-sharing service can now take advantage of and earn from photos that are not, in any way, owned by the company.
“Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, 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…” the new ToS said.
Phone Arena interpreted that “transferable” and “sub-licensable” mean Facebook or Instagram are allowed to license users’ photos to any other organization or company that might want to publish them online, on television or via print media. Basically, other organizations that will use your photos will have to pay Instagram for license. All proceeds will be kept by the company because you are not entitled to any royalty compensation.
If Instagram won’t change its ToS in favor of its users, what can you do to avoid having your photos sold to other companies?
There are actually two things you can do…
First, delete or import all your photos and deactivate your Instagram account. If you are one of the people who cannot stomach what this company wants to happen, this is the best thing you can do. But you need to know that if you just deactivate your account without deleting your photos, they’ll remain in Instagrams servers and you are giving the company full ownership over them. If you want to make a backup of all your photos before deleting them, you can use Instaport to do so.
If I stop using Instagram, are there any good alternatives available for free?
There are quite a lot of Instagram alternatives for both iOS and Android devices. However, there are only two services we can recommend for now.
The first is Yahoo’s Flickr app for iOS devices. As part of the company’s effort, under the leadership of Marissa Mayer, its Flickr app has recently been overhauled to come packed with filters and compete with Instagram. The new application now comes with a built-in editor giving users an easy way to edit, crop and/or enhance photos. Users can also easily share their photos from Flickr via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and email. So, if you are an iOS device owner, this is a perfect alternative for you, or you can opt to use the next one.
Second, Streamzoo for both Android and iOS owners. Long before an Android version of Instagram was released, Streamzoo has already been offering better photo-sharing service. The best thing about it is that it is clear about who owns the photos uploaded in its servers: “All rights of uploaded content by our users remain the property of our users and those rights can in no means be sold or used in a commercial way by Company or affiliated third party partners without consent from the user.” You can read the entirety of Streamzoo’s ToS from its website.
Both Instagram and Facebook may not be hurt if you do this now but wait until millions of its users realize the new ToS is not favorable for users but for the companies.
Your photos are your properties and you should be the last one to decide whether to sell them or not. Now, share this post to your friends to let them know about it.