Instagram May Require Permission Before Embedding Photos

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Instagram mentioned today that its ToS (Terms of Service) don’t grant websites a sublicense to embed other people’s posts. According to a report by Ars Technica, Instagram’s policies “require third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders,” according to a company spokesperson. “This includes ensuring they have a license to share this content if a license is required by law.”

This news came into highlight after a legal defeat for Newsweek earlier this week when Judge Katherine Failla, dismissed an appeal from Newsweek to drop lawsuits from photographer Elliot McGucken for using his Instagram photo. Before this case, a different judge determined that Instagram could sublicense photographs to sites that embed its posts to protect the site Mashable from a lawsuit.

Following these lawsuits, Instagram is clearing up the situation in photographers’ favor. Although the photo-sharing platform doesn’t mention that which part of its policy covered embedding rights, the copyright page says users retain “the right to grant permission to use your copyrighted work, as well as the right to prevent other people from using your copyrighted work without permission,” with no mention of exceptions for the embedded content.

Instagram told Ars Technica it was “exploring” more ways for users to control embedding. As of now, Instagram suggests photographers make their photographs private in order to stop embeds. In this way, they will be able to restrict access to their Instagram posts. 

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