By now you’ve probably heard that Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook three months ago, announced a rather dramatic change to its Terms of Service. As of January 16th, 2013, by using the popular photo sharing app you give Instagram perpetual rights to use and sell your photographs without payment or notification to you. That’s right, unless you cancel your subscription to this free service before that date, you will agree to have them market and sell your vacation photos, the dozens (no, hundreds) of pictures of your meals shared with friends and of course, all those cute pictures of your kids at play in local parks, parties and at home.
Who knows, your kid might be the next Gerber baby! That picture you took of your girlfriend on a Fort Lauderdale beach during spring break might be on the cover of the next Maxim magazine. How great is that, right?! “How much will I get paid?” you ask? Ah, see there’s the catch: you get paid nothing. You give them the right to “market and sell” your photographs AND give up the right to be compensated for such use. Still excited about your possible 15 minutes of pictorial fame?
Guess What? There’s No Santa Claus
Naturally, whenever some free social networking service tries to pay its electricity bill (so it can continue to offer you a free service) by selling advertisements, sharing your information or accessing the content you produce and willingly share across social platforms, everyone gets all riled up and turns to…you guessed it…the free internet to share their outrage. When a fee is placed on the use of – or access to – content, networking or images, most balk at the notion and move on. Place an advertisement in front of your content or before your video plays and everyone complains about how they’ve been inconvenienced.
Well guess what netizens, there is no Santa Claus. Facebook is a business, not a jolly man in red suit giving away candy canes and toys made by mystical elves. Who do you think pays for the servers, programmers, network engineers and bandwidth that allow you to share your silly memes, political rants and pictures of last night’s “most amazing sushi ever!”?
Culture of Entitlement
I want all of it, everything, all the time but I’m not prepared to pay for it and I
demand the best service – with a smile – on my terms.
Social media has created a culture of entitled, whiney crybabies who expect that everything will be given to them without compromise, fees or responsibility. We post pictures of ourselves drunk at bars and complain when they’re used against us at a job interview. We complain about our bosses and work environment on Twitter and seek legal advice when we’re fired for doing so. We blindly accept Terms of Service agreements without reading the fine print and then act all surprised and shocked that someone is collecting and sharing our information.
Culture of Opt-Out
As I’m writing this post, Danny Brown posted a great article called Instagram, Social Media and the Opt-Out Economy. He takes a unique look at the issue by calling out the fact Instagram is changing the rules of the game midstream, forcing you to opt out. Other services like Klout.com, who freely and without the requirement of an opt-in, track and analyse your online activity so they can build their business by selling product managers that information, require you to opt-in in order to opt-out. Nuts, right?
Certainly, the Internet has created an almost lawless Wild West-type world where everyone is trying to stake their claim to the gold in dem der hills.
Do I like the change Instagram is making to their Terms of Service? No.
Will I be opting out? Hell yes.
Do I agree with the new “opt-out mentality” that Internet firms are forcing down our throats? Not a chance.
However, I recognize that Instagram is free and so I say “stop your bitching or just stop using them.” It’s really that simple. Instagram is telling you it has to pay its bills and instead of charging you for access, it’s collecting revenue by selling your pictures. Don’t like the cost? Don’t buy it. Just don’t act so shocked that there’s a fee for services in life.
YOU’VE ALREADY AGREED TO LICENSE YOUR PHOTOS
Unregister yourself from Instagram and start using another network that you’ll not read the ToS for either. Those of you complaining clearly don’t read them since you most likely have a Facebook account and so you’ve already given up the same rights Instagram is now asking for. From Facebook’s terms of service: “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us … a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post.”
< /endrant >
Agree? Has social media created a culture of entitlement? Join the debate in the comments below.
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego