The creative community is comprised not just of professional artists, creators and innovators, but of anyone who creates, experiences or shares work in a way that supports creativity. As we live more of our lives online, even those who do not create art for a living occasionally get a taste of the struggles professional creators face. Indie artists and innovators have long struggled with the problem of overreaching contracts, which as freelancers, they often feel forced to accept “as is.” This week’s flap over Instagram’s proposed change to its terms of service gave Instagram users a taste of what it is like to be a professional creator in numerous ways. Not only did Instagram users express some of the same feelings of exploitation when they feared their work would be used and distributed by Instagram for commercial gain without their permission, but many also felt frustrated that their only option was to stop using a service they enjoy and rely on, rather than opt in or out of the proposed terms on a case-by-case basis. Instagram users spoke out, loudly. And Instagram responded… Or did they?
Overly Broad License
It is reasonable for sites that rely on user-generated content to take a license to content users upload to the site in order to enable the site to function and to improve services to users.
In responding to user complaints this week, Instagram declared: