Instagram to change Terms of Service. Are you sure you want this on your Windows Phone? [Updated]

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 (opens in new tab).  Oddly, the change in content license is not highlighted in the announcement.

Source: Cnet (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • facebook used to claim owenserhip of your photos before (not sure if it's still the same) and people still uses it :/
  • Their policies have been changed precisely due to the user feedback. Dropbox, however, still takes claim over anything you put on it, so it's a great reason to avoid that service too.
    Just because people use something doesn't mean they should... look at the iPhone! ;) lol
  • 1! Lol
  • From : "You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it"
  • Well, that's what Instagram says. However, what he might of meant is what Instagram is saying--it's your content, but we have free reign over licesning and selling your stuff for our benefit as we see fit.
  • LOL at your last sentence.
  • Sounds more like google to me.
  • The reason might be that facebook just bought Instagram.
    Facebook wants the rights on Photos people upload, because of their advertisement strategy. Without the rights they are not allowed to show your photo next to a product / website you liked. If they would not do that, everyon would sue them. Its hard to do an app / website which is powered by User generated Content and by advertisements without having a TOS that looks very similar to facebook. If you show ads to the user which he's not interested in he won't click on it which means no money. The other way round you need a TOS that allows to collect user data to show personalized ads.
    If dont agree with that, stop using facebook and join Dispora .
  • Facebook probably wants it so they can rifle through your friends, pick out all the parents and elderly relatives then sell them your own photos back to them as gifts.
  • No thanks im not a big fan of it anyway but people will use whatever they wish
  • just deleted mine too.
  • Had deleted my Instagram account last night, not much point in having it now that I'm with Windows Phone. Pretty glad I did, do not want this.
  • Is this crap even that useful? I cannot, for the life of me, understand the utility of this service.
  • From what I understand it is designed for attention whores, who like to spam their friends with photos so much, that facebook wasn't enough.
  • Lol Tom loooool
  • 'Attention Whore' it :-D
  • +1
    i want wpcentral forum app for android,
    is there one exist, :-D
  • Hahahaha. As tomasz mentioned it is for egocentrics whom think everyone wants to see a picture of there child eating spagetti or what donut they choose at safeway
  • That had me cracking up like mad!
  • Had some experience with it before and have to say not all apps have to be useful. It's like twitter but for photos. You just post whatever for others to view and see if they like them.  Got bored of it after 2 weeks though........
  • No, not really. I barely even used mine, couple friends migrated to Instagram and had deleted everything else so I used it primarily to keep in touch with them. But that's what phone numbers are for I suppose
  • Twitter: A site for posting Facebook status updates. Instagram: A site for posting Facebook shared photos. People just like to overcomplicate their lives with redundant services, in my opinion.
  • that has been what i thought since it became popular...i think we need to outsmart everyone and get both sites in 1 and go back to facebook
  • No, but it's not about me, it's about choice.
  • ^ This.
    I know a lot of people who would make the switch if some of the "key apps" also were on WP. Instagram is, sadly, one of those apps.
  • I have no FaceBook and I've now closed my IG account based on the data sharing between FB and IG now.
    App deleted from my iPhone and Android devices too so the lack of a Windows Phone app is no big deal indeed.
  • Poor taste by FB and Instagram. Even if comes to WP, I won't be using it now.
  • I hate FaceBook and I don't use Instasuck now.
  • Any surprise that this comes after Facebook buys Instagram? Either way, I am glad Instagram has not come to WP, and I hope it never does. 
  • I think you are overracting and overthinking it.
    The "license" described in those terms is necessary for that kind of services to work legally. Without it Instagram could get sued by ambulance chasers claiming damages for Instagram distributing one's work without one's consent. They technically need that license to be able to legally display those photos on their site and share them with facebook//twitter etc. If the former terms didn't contain the users's consent to distribute the photos, the service hadn't been operating quite legally.
    It's not about stealing your work, it's about protecting their asses - that's how the law works.
  • And if those pics happen to be of your wife children? You have no problem with them posting you or your families faces all over the net without your consent being bad but what about the consent of your family and friends?
  • I am smart enough not to upload any private photos as public to any social or sharing service. It's that simple.
    As for the consent of your family and friends - you are the evildoer in the scenario, in which you share photos of them on a public site without their consent.  
  • You're just being ignorant and arrogant.  The average Joe uses the service to show friends or family pics.  They don't expect those to be sold to whoever has a buck
    Congrats on being better than everyone, though.
  • Posting?  Try selling.  That is the real issue.  Anyone can find a way to share a photo you put on the web, but copyright is lost with this new policy.
  • Did you read it? This isn't a run of the mill TOS with limited distribution rights. This is full on ownership where they can SELL your images in advertising and hive you no credit or compensation.
  • Yes, I read it. It clearly says "Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights". They can use the photos in their own advertising, but they can't sell them or license them to another party.
  • I never said you were dumb but remember we are talking about dumb teen girls. I live in a rough neighborhood where nude pics on ig are the norm
  • Soudns like an awesome neighbohood to me.... I mean of course assuming they are eighteen and older.
  • Lol @casen I mean it is mostly but still were talking about instagram focus bro
  • "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."
    They are selling your data whether they own it or not and you're not getting anything for it.
  • Oh that little thing? That may sound scary in legal terms but really isn't when you know what it's about.
    And it's about that little facebook iframe displaying photos and names of people who liked a page or article, which can be placed on thirdy party sites. If you click "I like it" on Justin Bieber's fanpage your face may be displayed in it. The site owner may be charged by Facebook for using that plugin, but you won't get paid for liking Bieber. That's all there is to it.
  • No it's just scary in legal terms. What they actually do with it is irrelevant. What they can do with it is the scary part.
  • I suggest you read it again and/or get some trained analysis like CNet got from real lawyers and analysts...or maybe they're jsut professional whiners too.

  • Have to disagree. The TOS over extends itself. It's not simply a TOS to repost uploaded pictures. It's a TOS to allow Facebook to sell your pictures with no recompense to the owner. In other words, users do the work while Facebook makes the profit. It's the ultimate business model. Sadly I think most users will gladly go along with this.
  • Users don't work for Facebook for free, they get rewared with "likes".
  • sure they will. They post pics so other people will see. Facebook will just let EVERYONE see.
  • Except that could have claimed a more limited right to use the photos only on Facebook and only to post your photo in targeted ads to you or your Facebook "Friends". What they have claimed is the right to use your photo in a Superbowl TV add without your consent or compensation. Way too big a claim of rights. Instagram is going to take quite a hit in terms of Users who are leaving and fewer New Users signing up.
    I won't miss it.
  • Does it suck they can "sell your photos without telling you or compinsating you" yes, but seriously I don't take amazing photos for instagram. When I post on instagram its to get something across visually or share something not so show off my "stunning" cell phone photography. So if they want to sell my crappy cell phone pics have fun.
  • I feel the same way.
  • Companies that do this are essentially stealing. They're saying, your stuff is ours to use... your life is only valuable as a marketing tool.
    I find that behavior criminal. Granted, I don't use the service, nor would I, but I'm heavily advocating users NOT use it too precisely because of this. It's not about privacy, it's about blatant theft.
    Dropbox has almost identical usage terms too, and I banned it from my systems at work and also advocate against using it.
  • Also, addressing the claim of "this is how the systems work" ... no, it's not. SkyDrive and iCloud and many other services make it much less offensive by saying they can access your stuff only in a way that provides YOU access to YOUR information.
    Ed Bott wrote an article on the matter when comparing Dropbox to other services. EDIT: I stand corrected... Ed's latest article on it shows that Dropbox revised their terms.
  • "Content not shared publicly ("private") will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services."
    What is offensive about those terms?  
  • How many Instagram users do you know that mark everything Private? The purpose of the service is to share information. There are also much better storage options (like SkyDrive) if you want to privately store them.
    The whole point here is that users have to make an educated choice... maybe they don't care, and in that case, go for it... share away.
    But it shouldn't stop people from being informed of what can happen.
  • Skydrive, dropbox, picasa or imgur being better storage services is irrelevant in this matter.
    (especially since Instagram is meant to be a _sharing_ service and not a storage service).
    Claiming that "stealing" happens, when no such thing occurs, is not educated - it's false accusations, misinformation and propaganda.
    To be clear: I don't give a rat about that Instagram thing and never wanted to use it. I just care about you spreading false information and uneducated opinions at the moment.  
  • No, it's not stealing. It's you being irresponsible, when you share your photos as "public" on Instagram, and then whine about it.
  • Yes, actually, it is stealing.
    You posting for the purpose of sharing is not the same as a company taking your image and using it to earn money.
  • No, its is not stealing, when you willingly license your work to Instagram.
    Or did someone force you to agree to their terms and upload your photos as public?
  • It's not whining when they change their terms and users show displeasure. It wasn't like this when people signed up, so now people should be informed in order to take appropriate action. I'd say that action would be to avoid Instagram at all costs. The only whining I hear is "stop whining"
  • You're an idiot. The point is that this policy is a change from what people originally agreed to when they signed up. People don't read the terms, they blind click OK.
    People should be educated and allowed to make an intelligent choice... not just blindly accept the path of least resistance.
  • I wouldn't call it stealing as long as they only do this to photos you've uploaded after the terms of service change (which I believe is how its working). I really wish they would offer a paid version for people that want to use the service but don't want their work to be used for ads, it works well for apps I'd gladly pay about 2 bucks a month for ad free instagram, if they released a windows phone version of course.
  • Policy change includes photos posted in your account on the day the new policy takes effect and any subsequent images posted.
  • Educated people understand the difference between licensing and stealing. Calling terms of service "rape" or "theft" is not education. Disagreeing to the terms because some troll called them a "robbery" or "arson" is not an educated nor intelligent choice. It's populist and emotional.
  • stealing is debateable, but it's most certainly a "bait and switch" situation. 
  • It would be bait and switch if the former terms promised you compensation for your shitty photos, which they never did.
  • It is bait and switch when the former terms are different from the current terms even when no compensation between you and Instagram is involved. Instagram gets their money somewhere else. Saying this is not bait and switch just tell people how much you are an apologist for Instagram. If Instagram uniformly sends out change notice to the users, points out the differences and tell users how to avoid this situation, I would have less problem with it. Instagram should also let users cancel their accounts with all their photos deleted from their service.
  • If you don't like it then don't use it. Is it really that hard? Using these programs(fb, twitter etc.) is not a right.
  • This new policy will GUARANTEE the app comes to Windows Phone now, because this image licensing company called Instagram needs more sources for images, and what better place to find them than the OS sporting the best cameras in mobile (Nokia).  In fact that may give credence to Instagram being a Nokia exclusive.
  • Is SkyDrive the same as Dropbox? Do Microsoft claim ownership of anything stored on there? I am REALLY going to start reading the T&C's since this Instagram deal.
  • No. SkyDrive explicitly states that they can only access the data in a way that provides the owner access or based on permissions the owner explicitly grants (sharing).
  • Also, it turns out Dropbox changed their terms and "corrected" their policy...
  • Thanks for this info. Great.
  • Efff that man! Boo for instagram.
  • Its not like I'm taking pictures of weddings or anything of that importance. So I doubt my photos would even get a first look to sell for anything. I'm interested to see what celebs who use Instagram heavily (like Snoop and Beyonce) think about this
  • I never cared for it thou I was willing to check it out just to see what was the buzz all about. I'm not even going to bother to check it out now.
  • Flickr should cease this opportunity and in the process also upgrade their WP8 experience :)
  • Seize.
  • Do you feel better about yourself now?
  • Well to be fair, cease is almost 100% the opposite word so it sounds like he meant they shouldn't upgrade. =)
  • When you read cease and then "and in the process also upgrade their WP8 experience :)" immediately following I think it's safe to assume he meant they should upgrade.
  • Do you?
  • I probably would had he responded and we got to talk about why he feels the need to run around the internet correcting people's typos and auto corrects. Maybe if it were in the actual article, but come on.
  • TBH i dont see the facination in Instagram, maybe because i dont own a iphone or an android device anymore, if they release it for Windows phone i wont be downloading it Facebook can keep it and they will kill it off eventually just like they did with snaptu
  • In a couple years smartphone camera tech and capabilities will be solid across the board, Instagram will have plenty of superb source images. Think about it, smartphones are first in line to take pictures of events, scenes, etc as they happen, they're most privy to the rarest of moments...
  • Why we have to use those app???????????
  • Don't miss it at all. Why have these fancy cameras to make a picture look old and grainy? Doesn't make any sense at all to me. Just a passing fad in my eyes.
  • Power to fhotoroom! Lol but as of right now that's a great place for WP exclusiveness and if wp takes off then we could have the next "instagram"
  • Lets's find a reason to justify not having an Instagram app. Nice. 
  • I want it. And this won't affect many users. Most people don't care what instagram can do with the pictures.
  • You gotta have it guys. Millions of young females love it. That equals to millions of duckbill faces!
  • New ToS or not, Windows Phone still needs Instagram because the reality is most people won't care enough to stop using it. The biggest change really is that now Windows Phone fanboys can justify not having Instagram as an amazing thing.
  • yea i know, instagram is popular and wp will get it and people will use it...the circle of social life continues
  • Its just another way to make it easier for the government to find you or anybody as a matter of fact.
  • Who cares just give us the app already.
  • What is Fhotorooms policy on that? Everyone coming from iPhone just use that.
  • Lomogram works just fine for me. Don't need hipstergram.
  • remember people when something online is free, your the product! we should have all seen this coming...
  • Exactly.
  • I deleted my instagram today, dont use it because WP. Still think people will use instagram, and I think an instagram on WP, would help the platform. Personally I don't understand why Flickr is so little aggressive. Its a good service, there is a paying option for those who would like large pictures. They just need to revamp the website and the apps.
  • I honestly couldn't care less, if it comes to WP I would probably use it if not that's ok too, I don't consider my photos sensitive information and I certainly wouldn't share them if my goal was to make some revenue over them. Who claims ownership or commercial value over silly pictures I share won't disrupt my sleep, that's for sure.
  • Would be nice if instagram also had a paid version for people that don't want their photos used as ads but still wanted to use it. I hate internet tracking and data collection but I'm not naive enough to think websites can offer services for nothing, I just wish I was given the choice to pay for services instead of being datamined.
  • I have never wanted to use Instagram, so this doesn't really affect me. But if I was ever considering it, I sure wouldn't now. I just don't see the need for it. Everyone I know that uses Instagram posts the images to Twitter or Facebook anyway. So essentially the only thing they are using Instagram for is the filters that make the pictures look terrible. I would rather see the pics unedited and shared directly to FB or twitter. I just don't understand what people on WP are missing out on. But, I do understand that we need it because people that don't want it are in the minority.
  • Come on guys, it's not like companies want all your sepia pictures of your lunch anyways
  • People are stupid so yes, they will.
  • Facebook has the same policy concerning content you publish on their service. Since Facebook owns instagram now, I'm not surprised by this turn of events.
  • I can see that there are many users that won't mind if their images are sold to a 3rd party. But people need to know.
  • Does this surprise you? Instagram spelt backwards is Facebook. :)
  • In the end, ppl with whine about it and the service will continue as is and millions will continue to use it. I still hope for a WP app.
  • I believe Fhotoroom offers a similar service?
  • I badly want it to come to WP8, because it is held out as the single biggest missing app by critics.  Even if I don't use it, having it on WP8 will be big for the platform.  
  • Not a deal breaker for me
  • Fotoroom stinks
  • Correction. Fhotoroom is excellent and emits a pleasant odor
  • Poop, dude.
  • This is such a fuddy-buck move. Whatever happened to making a solid product to benefit the people.
  • Well the benefit is still there just only to those who don't care about owning there property. As for me I do so I want but never did in the first place.
  • Lol! Lots of idiots thought this couldn't happen..
  • Only a moron would continue to use instagram after they impose disgusting terms of service like this. Lets hope Instagram crashes and burns after this to serve as an example to other corporate pricks that would want to exploit their user base.
  • WP8 will not succeed without millions of morons using WP8 phones.  
  • Who you calling a moron, moron!
  • People who use Instagram do want their sepia duckfaces and lunches plastered all over the internets. The new TOS doesn't change anything.
  • This is Facebook doing what they do best. These terms won't lost long. User outcry will eventually force fb to change the terms again.
  • I guess people should have seen this comming:
    "Facebook's vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson earlier this month had said: "Eventually we'll figure out a way to monetise Instagram." "
  • I still want it.
  • Regardless of these terms Instagram simply must come to WP for the sake of the platform. It's the users choice whether to use it or not.
  • I wouldn't have used it anyway.  I looked at Fhotoroom and Lomogram and while they look nice I thought to myself "why do I even need this?"  I have one place I put pics and that's plenty.
  • Could careless about Instagram really. I tried them during my very very brief stint on iPhone, quickly got rid of it. But whatever. 
  • To anyone who says opposition to this is just "whining" or thinks "this is how the system works" or blames the user:  Please note the following:
      This is not "whining", it is public outcry against a horrible, greedy set of Terms Of Service. It is important to note that it was NOT like this when people signed up, this is a CHANGE in TOS, therefore discussion of said change informs users about how they should or should not interract with the service, moving forward. The TOS ***does*** implicity claim ownership and right to transfer and SELL license to third parties.  In fact, an analysis by a real lawyer, vs. forum apologists, concludes that Instagram could become the largest stock photo site in existence and not have to pay for the rights to SELL your images. I wish people would read before coming into forums and insulting people and spreading misinformation.  If you don't believe me, read what the lawyers and analyst that CNet consulted for their article on this.    
  • The problem is a lot of people are ignorant of their rights or just dont care if their rights are being abused, that is why companies like google, facebook, instagram(now facebook really) can get away with changes like this without worying too much about their public image.
    I am sticking with Microsoft services as they are thus far one of very few who have stood up for users privacy.
  • I'm more interested with my phone updates, than Instagram.
  • Since I'm on WP7.5 its all we got to hope for now.. Plus you can just set your profile to private then to avoid all problems.
  • I have friends that live blog events by taking shots from their cameras via an EyeFi to a tablet or phone. They edit quickly and upload to Facebook pages an Twitter accounts. These shots are typically better than some news agencies use because they are from photo pits and taken with DSLRs. I have a feeling this will stop.
  • This article is unnecessary. Its also another reminder that WP probably won't be getting instagram and the fine folks here are trying to convince people that we don't need it. The truth is most of us don't need it but there's no denying the fact that without it the kids are putting the WP down at the store and grabbing iPhones and S3's. Its that 1 thing everyone will point to and say "but it doesn't have instagram".
  • Just put a water mark through photos saying "FU InstaScam!" :p
  • My 2cents...
    WP8 has Lens apps integrated into the camera.
    Nokia 920 has the best camera built into a smartphone, complemented by their exclusive photo apps such as Creative Studio, Cinemagrah & Photobeamer.
    All the above functions & features are integrated seamlessly into WP8.
    And you can share your photos privately & exclusively by setting up your own little community using WP8's built-in Room app. I believe your own private community can be extended to your iOS & Android friends once they installed the Room app.
    All the above-mentioned far exceed what Instagram can offer. Especially now with their intrusive privacy policy.
    The beauty of Windows Phone is such that the integrated functions & features make apps almost redundant in our WP world whereas in iOS/Android world, apps have become the master while the users are the slaves.
  • Good. Now hopefully people will notice the other Multi platform version like Eye'Em. This seperation between platforms is ridiculous for this day an age. We should all have the right to choose what devices we want to use and when it comes to these social apps, all platforms should have them. That's how I see it. BBM was popular, then look what happened when people left their BB for Windows Phones, Android and iPhones, Whatsapp catters to all of them and even to this day still support Blackberry.
    As much as the editors here hates whatsapp (I don't knwo why, I've never had a single issue with it on my HTC Titan) they still make a valiant effort to keep ALL of the patforms happy and up to date. ALL developers should be like that for social apps. Period.
  • Paranoid people are paranoid
  • @astroXP What is paranoid? I don't use the service and have no interest in it. As it stands though, the fact they are now gong to alter the user agreement to remove the language of concern indicates people had every reason to think there was a problem. If there was no fire behind the smoke, they would have just issued a clarification. That they are removing the language is a clear admission. The agreement would have allowed exactly what privacy advocates claimed it allowed.
  • Removed my content and delted my account... screw them...
  • Goggle, Instacrap, Facepoop... Delete them all ;)
  • Instagram, a completely pointless hipster sheeple "me too" crap.
  • Instragram is dead to me.  And I'm getting tired of Facebook.
  • wait, there is an app for Instagram on WP8 on lumia 920???
  • Pretty much is the exact same privacy agreement you sign to use Facebook. And if you're posting anything on the internet and think people can't access it or use it for whatever they want you're an idiot. No idea why so many people care; especially people that don't even use the app
  • Flickr or instagram?