Today, 18th December 2012, Instagram announced that they would be changing their Terms of Service effective 16th January 2013. After that date, Instagram will be able to repackage any photo submitted to the service and sell it for advertising purposes without informing the photographer. This means that your photo could be used to advertise any product – even ones you are opposed to. Further, if there are any legal claims about the content of the images used for advertising purposes, the liability will lie with the photographer, not Instagram.
The only way to opt out of the new rules, is to delete your Instagram account (however, the new TOS will only apply to photos uploaded after the new TOS becomes active) – by logging in either using the mobile app, or the web page confirms your acceptance of the new rules.
This change in the TOS has angered a number of photographers online and they have been venting on Twitter and Facebook. The Anonymous hacker collective has urged Instagram users to boycott the service (see the hashtag #boycottInstagram).
Instagram is a fabulous tool which allows photos to be taken and instantly uploaded – If you want to, you can add a variety of filters and frames with a couple of clicks. This makes it a very immediate medium for sharing thoughts and breaking news as it happens.
The Flickr App is very similar to Instagram in that it allows you to take a photo and add one of a number of filters to the image. I don’t see an option in the Flickr App to add frames, but I rarely use them anyway. The Flickr App does not restrict the image to being square, and the image is much higher resolution. The Flickr Terms of Service are much more agreeable to photographers too.
But, what if you already have photos on Instagram which you would like to migrate to Flickr?
The best method I have found, is to use the free service at OpenPhoto.me which allows you to download photos from Flickr, Facebook or Instagram in bulk. Signing up is free, and you can choose to save your photos to a Dropbox account which is also free. If you would like a larger-than-normal Dropbox account, please sign up using my affiliate link: http://db.tt/7Gg69v4h
Note: OpenPhoto.me is currently undergoing an upgrade, but if you sign up now, they will let you know when the service is available – you have until January 16th 2013 before the new Instagram TOS becomes active.
Let me know your thoughts on the new TOS and the Flickr App!
UPDATE: [22:00GMT 18 Dec 2012] Instagram have issued a clarification of what they meant by the new TOS – http://blog.instagram.com/post/38252135408/thank-you-and-were-listening U-turn or genuine mistake?