Instagram have, quite wisely, released a statement in response to the furore over the updated T&Cs.
They now say that the interpretation of being able to sell usage rights is incorrect, and results from confusing wording. This much is evident: the wording of the original update was extremely ambiguous and would’ve granted exceptionally broad rights.
Instead, it becomes clear that the ‘innovative’ advertising they’re proposing will look a lot like the advertising encroaching on Facebook and Twitter. “John Smith posted a photograph of a Chrysler, here’s Chrysler’s corporate account.”
This is good news in some ways—MailOnline will still have to seek permission from the photographer in order to post some grainy iPhone pic of a pop starlet on the beach1—and disheartening in others. The sort of ads Instagram appears to be proposing are not particularly obnoxious: they’re more subtle, and I find them to be substantially creepier. It’s like being approached by a well-greased salesman in the street who overheard a conversation about his company’s products between you and some friends.
The real winners in this, of course, are Flickr, who released an excellent new iOS app (with filters) within the last week, and have a simple freemium business model without any need for direct engagement by braaaaaaaaaands. They have, unwittingly, timed this perfectly: an excellent new release, and a competitor’s stumble, could turn out to mean a triumphant return in a shower of glory for Flickr.
Not that this has ever stopped them in the past: newspaper websites, MailOnline in particular, have a history of using images without permission, attribution or compensation.↩