This article by media member Gary Crallé is in response to a feature about Instagram in the November/December issue of TMAC Travels.
First they came for your pictures. Now they want your money and identity.
These days, it seems that almost everyone is on board the social media bandwagon. But most people who are along for the ride don't realize what they may be giving away. There are some serious caveats.
On Aug. 22, 2013, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) issued a press release titled "Photographic Community Deems Instagram Terms Too Far-Reaching."
Several photographic organizations also put their name to that release:
National Press Photographers Association, The Digital Media Licensing Association, American Photographic Artists, This Week in Photography, Professional Photographers of America, Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage, Graphic Artists Guild, American Society of Picture Professionals and Asociación de Fotógrafos Profesionales de España.
- Give Instagram perpetual use of photos and video, including the nearly unlimited right to license the images to third parties.
- Relinquish a user's right to terminate the agreement or remove their work and their identity from Instagram.
- Make the account holder responsible for all legal fees due to any litigation regarding a photo or video.
- Allow Instagram to sublicense images without compensation to creators.
The ASMP release continues: "The photographic community believes strongly that fair compensation for the creators of work is a vital component of a fair agreement."
Facebook owns Instagram, and it's no coincidence that the terms of service of both organizations make the same demands as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Social media platforms can be enormously beneficial, but like a good knife, can cut both ways by also doing grievous damage to your income, reputation and career.
I hesitate to give my personal opinion about social media because I don't understand it all, but it seems to me that the key to deriving benefit from social media sites like Instagram is knowing what service or product you are "selling," and what you are willing to give away, or "share."
If you are selling photographs, it behooves you to manoeuvre more carefully than those who are using photos as a loss leader (a means to an end) to promote another product or service, which is what PR and marketing firms are in the business of doing.
It may seem obvious, but creators of any work posted to the Internet (writers, photographers, musicians, etc.) shouldn't make available everything they are trying to sell. If it's on the web, it can be swiped - er, "shared."
There are innumerable suggestions on the web about how to utilize social media, so I'll mention just one. Photoshelter, a website host for photographers and therefore a business that has photographers' interests in mind, offers free advice in its blog article titled "The Photographer's Guide to Instagram." (http://bit.ly/16DxuMq)
With social media (as iClaudius may well have said in an earlier digital dictum), Cavendum set user! - Let the user beware!