Jason Vertucio

You know me! ™

I build a little demo of the Instagram API

I’m learning how to use the Instagram API. Originally I signed up to use it so I can see if I could just mass-delete all my photos. By the way, I can’t. And now it doesn’t matter so much.

Oh, in case you missed it, they changed their ToS back to the version where they won’t have the right to use your photos with no compensation back to you. So, since they fixed that, I’m staying.

I put together a quick demo of the API. The only demo I have is one that goes through all of your followers and everyone you follow, and puts everyone onto a single screen where you can see if a user follows you or not, and likewise for your relationship with them.

If you want to see it, you can find the demo at jasonvertucio.com/demo/instagram_api. And if you try it out, let me know what you think in the comments below. If you find a problem, post it so I know what I need to work on to get it running.

Instagram is listening – BUT ARE THEY REALLY???

The other day Instagram (“IG”) introduced a new version of their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. And the Internet spoke.

So, IG backtracks a bit. They say there intent was not to use our photos in advertising without having to get our consent. And a few other things I didn’t care about. They said they were just trying to make it easier to deliver advertising to us. So they are rewriting the language, and even removing a very offending line that had stated they can use your images carte blanche, and you can do nothing about it.

But you see, the way I see it is that they have lawyers upon lawyers drafting legal documents like a Terms of Service Agreement (“TOS”), which is a bit of a misnomer as you really have no say in said Agreement except to not enter into it.

If their intention was not to use your own IG photographs as free advertising, then the lawyer tasked with drafting the TOS would not have included the sentence in the first place.

They really must be listening because a lot of their revenue stream had just up and vanished, and while I hypothesise* that they are internally realising their mistake in trying to use one’s copyrighted artwork as part of an advertising campaign with no license or compensation to the creator, they present it as if they didn’t mean that in the first place.

I follow(ed?) a bunch of artists on IG. They present their work using the service because it is easy and widespread. I’m sure one wouldn’t want to see their really cool logo of a bunch of birds (which happens to be their professional logo) as part of an advertisement for an unrelated or even competing brand. I’m not sure if trademark registration would supersede the TOS, but I certainly know someone would be gearing up for an IP fight.

I understand that a business is in business to make money. They would not survive otherwise. I also understand that artists are in business to make money, and many of the artists I associate with are not gigantic agencies who have millions and millions of dollars. Every bit of revenue is precious to them. The language IG had put forth essentially removed that revenue stream. If an image is cross-posted to IG and their own professional website, clever people could just snag the photo from IG for free. Under the TOS, it’s allowed because IG can use the image without compensation to the user (i.e. photographer/artist).

 * With nothing to back up the statement, I must request that you do not consider it any more than opinion or conjecture.