Instagram attempts to backtrack on its new privacy policy that impinges on owners’ rights

On Monday, December 17, 2012, and effective January 16, 2013, Instagram, a photo sharing utility now owned by Facebook, announced to its users on its blog:  “…you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable license to use the Content that you post on or through” Instagram …

Jenna Worthman and Nick Bilton of New York Times Magazine explained the new policy.

  1.  “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” the new terms say;
  2. In effect, underage users are not exempt;
  3. Instagram users “acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such…”
Don’t want to agree to such a license?  Then don’t use Instagram.

One day later, Instagram started backtracking in a letter from Kevin Systrom co-founder, but with troubling phraseology. “As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos…The language we proposed also raised 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.”

Whether or not Instagram currently has plans for using members’ photos in ads without permission or compensation does not address the question of whether they believe they can.

Update:  Late yesterday Systrom blogged this.