Happy New Year: Instagram to sell user photos for revenue

Happy New Year: Instagram to sell user photos for revenue

In 2013, folks who use Instagram may not work in marketing or sales, but their personal photography may very well be showing up in advertising soon. The company announced today as part of its new terms of use that it now claims "perpetual rights" to all public images uploaded. Meaning, those vacation pics or barhopping shots could be sold to another company for commercial use without notifying -- or paying -- the user.

The new policies come into place about three months after Facebook finalized its acquisition of the huge online photo-share community. The shift goes into effect on January 16. Folks who don't delete their account before this period cannot opt out. As stated online:

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, 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.

That said, company's terms and conditions are loaded with lawyer speak, where the language can come off as vague or more nefarious than reality. Since the new agreement won't be put into action for several more weeks, it's hard to say exactly how this shake out will impact the images users upload -- or whether or not members will be leaving en masse. However, the implication is that those pics of your kid at Disneyland, for example, could end up on a Disney ad for webpage.

Another shady development: Instagram won't necessarily be disclosing that certain images and posts are ads.  

You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

Yikes. Will even more photo hobbyists be flocking to Flikr? Will Photobucket stage a massiv comeback? Is that image of your friend shopping at Old Navy an ad? You can read up on your new terms and conditions here.

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