Why to Not Freak Out About the New Instagram Policy… Yet.

I wrote about issues I was having with Instagram in June of this year.

Social Media Cake

My main concern was that people are using their site as a collection of others’ photos.  But I did also address the fact that once you upload a picture to Instagram, you give them full permission to do whatever they want with it.

This is from their original TOS: (Proprietary Rights in Content on Instagram)

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.”

And this is from the soon-to-be implemented TOS:

“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 user name, 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,”

It seems in the broad lawyer language that Instagram is presenting that they have the OPTION to use, sell, distribute your images in ADVERTISING.  Does that mean they will?  Will Instagrams TOS trump any state law?  It remains to be seen.

 

Social Media Cake

Instagram is a free service.

Instagram is now owned by facebook.  It makes good business sense that facebook would monetize them, and do it in a way that would only benefit facebook.  Do I think that is fair?  Heck no.  Am I ready to give up on Instagram?  Not yet.

They still have lots of issues.  They still have thousands of users who are in constant violation of their TOS, and they are very slow to enforce policy. (if at all)  However, as far as I can tell they have had the ability to use our images since the inception of their services, and have yet to do anything and is blatantly harmful to one of its users.

Should users boycott and demand changes?  Well, I guess thats up to you.

Its always, always a good idea to know and understand the TOS for any social media outlet you use.  (Right now, Google+’s policy states that they cant sell certain images, so its worth looking into if you want a “safer” social sharing site)

We still get the pleasure of viewing others pictures.  I adore the talented and creative people that I follow on Instagram, and for me my time there is often browsing others work.  Sometimes I dont even glance at my own account!

For now, I am willing to utilize their services and take my chances.

*If you do decide to delete your account, utilizing a service like Instaport.me will help you to export your images to your hard drive. (They are experiencing high traffic currently, so do try back if you are interested.)

*If you want to keep your account for now, but still want to take some preventative measure you can:

-watermark your photos in a clear, obvious way

-change your images to a low resolution before posting to Instagram

*Know Your Rights: Photographers (from ACLU)

The Ugly Truth About Instagram

UPDATE: Why Not to Freak Out About the New Instagram Policy Dec. 18th, 2012

Let me start by saying I am not a lawyer and I wouldn’t know how to think like one even if I tried.

What I am is an honest blogger who is feeling duped.

When I started my Instagram account I was instantly smitten.  Everything about it was wonderful… the ease of uploading and processing my pictures, the convenience of posting my pictures to other forms of social media.

I even wrote posts about it and made a cake in honor of it!

Most of all, I loved looking at other peoples streams.  The talent and content was mind blowing… what people can do with a camera phone is truly awesome!

 

But there is a dark side.

People take images off the internet and repost them on their Instagram accounts.  With no attribution.  Essentially, they are creating their own ‘Pinterest like’ boards through Instagram.

This is a violation of the terms of use by Instagram, as they clearly state here:

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Instagram Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Instagram Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights, intellectual property rights or any other rights of any person, and (iii) the posting of your Content on the Site does not result in a breach of contract between you and a third party. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of Content you post on or through the Instagram Services.

So when I saw my Surprise Inside Heart Cake posted on an account with over 174,000 followers, I was upset.  I left a comment on the picture saying, “This is my picture.  I did not give you permission to post it.  Please remove it from your feed.”

I was ignored.

I reported the picture to Instagram.  See, I read this post and thought they had my back.

I was ignored.

As it stands there are over 24,000 “hearts” on that picture.

There are comments like, “Cool!  How did you do that?” and “Recipe please?”  “How did you get the surprise inside that cake?”

The people who posted my picture (proprietors) also submitted my picture to various contests and photo galleries.  Never once, anywhere, did they ever credit me or even imply the picture was not theirs.

To this day, the picture is still there and I have never heard one single word from Instagram.

There is another account (around 60k followers) that posted my rainbow pancakes.

I asked the proprietor to remove the image from her feed and she all but laughed in my face.  Some of the comments I got when I asked her to remove the picture:

(from the proprietor herself)

“I got the images from weheartit.com a picture sharing website.  I feel no shame for taking a picture off a website and reposting it, like hundreds of millions of people do.  And that picture is not your picture, unless you uploaded it to weheartit.com yourself, which was your fault because it’s a photo sharing site.  Once you upload it there, you cant get upset when someone else reposts it because that’s the whole idea of the website.”

For the record, I have never uploaded a picture to weheartit.com

“If she (the proprietor)  gets them off google anybody can take them and if she takes it from u it just means u had a good pic…”

“She (the proprietor) doesn’t have to do anything!  She doesn’t know you! What is your problem?  Its not like anyone would just take your pics.  GET A LIFE!  Don’t you have better things to do?  Oh wait, I guess not!”

“Once you put ANY type of media out on the Inernet, it is no longer yours.  Its anyones to use, repost, or “steal”.  And none of those things are any type of actions that are illegal.”

“Dont flip out *** dang!  Those pictures are all over instagram and pinterest.  Stop being a baby.”

“You do know its not copyrighting unless she sells it or takes credit for it, right?  Oh wait, you don’t know.  Its basically like printing off a picture from the internet for a school report.  All your classmates see it, and its not copyrighting.  Thats just the same as Instagram.  Read (the proprietors) bio.  She didn’t claim credit for them.  Get your facts straight.”

Clearly people were not happy I asked for my images to be removed.  I am continually getting harassing comments and being insulted.

(These are just two examples, there are many more ofenders)

So why do I bother?

I work hard on taking pictures and publishing things on my blog.  Taking pictures does not come easy to me and its often a labor of love.  I have invested time and money into every post published.

When I published that picture on my blog, per my disclaimer, I immediately had copyright.  I own my pictures.  I have the right to say if someone can post it or not.  Furthermore, I have legal recourse if someone posts it without my permission.

Except with Instagram.

Because even though their terms of service indicate that you need to own a picture before posting it, there are thousands of accounts that do not follow those terms.  These accounts have huge followings, and are full of images that the proprietor does not own. (see below)

And, in my personal experience, Instagram has not done anything about it.

Under the Proprietary Rights in Content on Instagram section on their legal terms page it states:

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.

So even if someone takes my pictures and distributes them, Instagram is not responsible.

If  you read on further, Instagram also claims your picture as theirs.  They can use your image(s) around the world and owe you nothing.*

They, and all of their users, can use your pictures for whatever they want whenever they want.

And there are no consequences.

*I am not saying I wouldnt be honored to have my pictures deemed worthy enough to distribute.

I could contact an attorney and pursue legal action, but right now that would be out of anger and hurt feelings.  I want to make sure if I pursue this its for the right reasons and would help the greater good.

I also want people to understand that just because they found a picture on google doesn’t make it their property.

I hope that when people post on Instagram that they have either taken the picture themselves or are willing to pay royalties/give credit to the appropriate source.

That they would post with integrity.

Am I asking too much?

*If you are a blogger or have a website, I encourage you to try searching for one of your more popular images on Instagram.

***********

I just received this from Instagram:

Thank you for your email. Stealing photos is against our Community Guidelines (bit.ly/igcg) and we take it seriously. We want photographers to feel confident and safe sharing their work on Instagram.With regards to your case, we saw flags submitted for these images but we could not confirm the original source of the photos. By the time it was flagged, the image seemed to have reached “internet meme” status and had spread to many different accounts and webpages. This is a testament to how much people enjoy your photo, but, unfortunately, it makes reviewing the image for original ownership much more difficult. In the future, we suggest that when you flag an image you 1. include links to the original source of the file in your flag reporting and 2. email us if the image(s) are not removed within 24 hours with links to your original file and links to all of the images on Instagram where you have seen the photo replicated. To locate links to stolen images, we suggest using a web browser version of our site (http://web.stagram.com/n/USERNAME). You can click the “O” in the top right corner of each image which will take you to an Instagram web page for that photo. Then, you can send us the URLs to the Instagram web pages.Finally, we have reviewed the accounts you mention above and taken appropriate action. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. 
The Instagram Team
Every single account I mentioned was closed.  Now those individuals know that they were doing something wrong and that there ARE consequences for their actions.  We obviously have a long way to go, but I cannot even tell you how much of my faith was restored in the Instagram community!
 Thank you, Instagram, for handling this issue and upholding your terms of use.  And  thank you for providing further information on how to better safeguard ourselves.
And thank YOU for sharing this issue and providing helpful, informative, and sound advise in how we can all better our online communities!
**********
I have since had other pictures posted on peoples accounts without permission.  I followed Instagrams directions and flagged the images with the details they require.  Again, no action was taken.  I then emailed again and requested some advice in how to handle this.  They removed my image from an offending account, (thank you) but left the account open even though every other image was also stolen.
So, as it stands, I believe Instagram has good intentions, but not good execution.  I feel there is much work that needs to be done.

 

 

Instagram: Baked

I have professed my love of Instagram many times before.  I pretty much adore every little nook and cranny of the Instagram world.

And the fact that I can share all sorts of baking treats… whether it be a disaster or success… is such a blessing to me.

Its a place where I feel a bit more free to express myself artistically.

This is a batch of Oatmeal Milky Way Brownie Bars I made for a church function.  I did not let them cool enough (I should have popped them in the freezer since I was in a hurry!) and they fell apart when I moved them from the pan.  It almost looks as if that is raw batter, but in reality is it a layer of ooey gooey Milky Way caramel deliciousness.  I was not sad at all that these didn’t make it to the church!

The second version of my Double Decker Yellow Rose Covered Cheesecake.

The red, white, and blue Rose Cake.  Which you know I am going to force you to make for your Fourth of July celebration.  Seriously.  You can do it.

The sweet little Daffodil Cupcake.  I made a cake and then a tutorial on a cupcake.  My caption on the Instagram photo was: “Daffodil Cupcakes Done.  Tutorial Done. Summoning up the will to resist eating one, failed miserably.

To which Bridget replied the bestest reply ever. “Being a baking blogger REQUIRES you to eat it. ;) it’s in the contract.”

Why yes, yes it is.  I love the way you think Bridget!

Fantastic Chocolate Cupcakes via the amazing Amy Atlas.  I added homemade sprinkles.

And when I was making those sprinkles, had a happy little accident.

But did you know that I sometimes share things there that never make it to my blog?  There are a lot of occasions in my life that I am baking for, but that dont manifest themselves into a blog post.

Like Memorial Day.

Or playing around with the extra frosting I just could not let go to waste.

Or when I started a pile for all the tips I lost to my disposal.

A moment of silence please.

Or a special visit from some beloved Grandparents. (This is a Brownie Cake made with the BEST frosting Ree has ever had covered in blueberries.)

Or the first night if T-Ball.  I am coaching my kids’ team this year and had to bake away some of my nerves before the first practice!  These are gluten free because I didnt know if any of the kids had food allergies.

Or a “Because its Wednesday” slice of cake.

Or that one time I spent hours making egg shaped cake balls and decorating a cake in iridescent white non perils for the perfect Easter Cake only to have it tip over on the make shift cake stand I so carelessly assembled.

I cried.  Unabashedly I cried.

Or the beginning stages of the Neapolitan Rose Cake.  Naked Neapolitan as I like to call it.

Or a 1st Birthday Cake for a friends sweet boy.  After I dropped off the cake I never heard from her again so I am  pretty much convinced that it tasted like feet and she is avoiding me so she doesnt have to break my heart by telling me.

Did I mention I am overly-dramatic?

Or a Tuesday morning.  When I made the kids whole grain flax seed pancakes with bananas and organic maple syrup.  Then proceeded to dump peanut butter and chocolate chips on mine.

 

But I have to tell you something.  As much as I love sharing the sweet (and sometimes bitter!) happenings in our lives, I love love love following you and learning more about you all!

Thank you to all the amazingly talented and creative and funny people who graciously allow me to follow them on Instagram.  You are such a bright spot in my day!

All of these pictures were edited in Instagram with the exception of the Double Decker Cheesecake.  That was “roughed up” in Picfx first, then edited in Instagram.

For the record, I am iambaker on Instagram.

Social Media Cake {Surprise Inside Cakes}

CONTEST CLOSED!

Winners are: Comment #468 Chelsea

Comment #477 Patti

You have been notified and I hope to hear from you! Congrats ladies!

***********

Most of my IRL (in real life) friends and family are not big into social media.  I say words like Pinterest or Instagram and they say, “You’re Excused.”

But you, you my dear friends, are a different story.  We probably met through some form of social media.

Which I love.

I thought I would share with you my very favorite ways to communicate of late.

 

Facebook-I was late to start!  I protested.  I refused to be a joiner!  Boy was I silly.  I adore facebook!  When I see a comment or a post I can click over to you page and find out more about you.

Twitter-I have to admit, I am not the best at twitter.  Thinking up witty things to write in 140  is not something I do well.  However, I do like reading other peoples tweets!  And seeing whats trending.  And finding new, fun, brilliant people to follow.

Pinterest-Probably the most revealing of all forms of social media.  Pinterest is truly a glimpse into my soul… everything I love and hold dear.   My friend Amy has written some interesting posts on the use of Pinterest, which has helped me to Be a Socially Conscience Pinner.

Stumble Upon- I have really enjoyed the variety that Stumble Upon brings.  I have met some pretty amazing people through SU!  One of my favorite things is sitting in front of my computer on a quiet Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and just click, click, clicking through stumbles.  Being able to Thumbs Up a friend is an extra added bonus!

Instagram-Oh Instagram, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways… I love your Earlybird and your Toaster and Nashville just to pick a few.  As someone who is wretchedly terrible at fancy photo editing, I love how you simplify it for me!

Want to know what my favorite form of social media is???

(because you know that no post is complete without a surprise inside cake!)

Yay!  I love getting to share Surprise Inside Cakes!

Facebook!  I just LOVE that its interactive and that I can really get to know you better!

(Sorry that ‘f’ is so wonky.  Its hard to get an ‘f’ in a cake!)

So.

Because I want to be able to better connect to all of you, I want to give you something that will help us make that connection.

CONTEST CLOSED!

I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE TWO SPECIAL READERS A NEW KINDLE FIRE!  

Why the new Kindle Fire?  FULL Internet capabilities!  You can surf and chat and tweet to your hearts content!

How can you win?  Simply tell me, what is your favorite way to communicate online?  

Good luck all!

Amazon and Facebook are in no way affiliated with this giveaway.

Estimated Retail Value of the Kindle Fire is $199.

See official rules here.