Update, December 18 at 2:50 p.m. PT: Instagram has backed down, as we report in this CNET article posted a few minutes ago. Instagram says it will “remove” the language that caused a user revolt over the last day.
Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry. The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.
Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”
NOTE: I’ve long advised against putting personal photos on “sharing” sites, as I don’t trust a lot of companies. This is exactly what I was afraid of. If you want information on a safe, secure, private site to share photos only with those you select, please let us know.