Instagram changes Terms of Service

Instagram is a popular photo sharing application/service found on other smartphone platforms. For the most part, Windows Phone users have been eager to see Instagram app made available in the Windows Phone Store. But a change in Instagram's Terms of Service may change the level of excitement an Instagram Windows Phone app may have.

Effective January 16, 2013 Instagram will claim worldwide license to any content posted to the service. That means Instagram could use your photos for advertisement or sell them to third parties without any compensation headed your way.

The bone of contention that many Instagram users are having issue with reads,

"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."

You still "own" your photos but by using Instagram and accepting the Terms of Service, they can use or sell these images as they see fit. Luckily, content marked as private can't be distributed outside Instagram. They can probably use the content for internal advertisement but can't sell the images to third parties.

It's not uncommon for photo hosting sites to have limited rights to use content posted for advertising or promotional purposes. But having the right to sell your images?

It's no surprise the new Terms of Service aren't being well received by current Instagram users. But does it make Windows Phone users re-think the need for a Windows Phone Instagram app?  You can find all the details on all the changes to Instagram's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service here.  Oddly, the change in content license is not highlighted in the announcement.

Source: Cnet

Update: It appears Instagram has taken users concerns into consideration and are working on a revised Terms of Service and Privacy Policy update.  According to Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, 

"I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. 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."

Systrom made it clear in this blog post that it is not Instagram's intention to sell users photos and still affirms that Instagram does not claim ownership rights of users content.  It will be interesting to see how the new language clarifies how Instagram defines the licensing rights they claim on content.