Tuesday, December 18, 2012
SoCal's Instagram Startups Duck Impact, As Users Rebel
It looks like all of the flap over Instagram's change in its terms of service--which some had interpreted as giving Instagram the right to sell users' photos--has missed impacting a number of Southern California's startups. Instagram clarified its position on ownership of photos Tuesday, saying its intent was not to sell user photos, or use them in advertising. Instagram--which operates a popular, mobile photo sharing service--had made a change which would legally give the unit of Facebook ability to sell users photos, either along or part of advertising, or in other ways.
The controversy also raised questions about how those changes might affect multiple, local startups, whose businesses revolve around letting users--not Instagram--sell their photos on the site, whether as a print, as a T-shirt, or other products. Such companies as Instacanvas (holiday cards, prints, iPhone cases, gifts); Insteegram (t-shirts); and Instaprints (Framed prints, canvas prints, greeting cards, etc.) all have been building businesses around Instagram.
Matt Munson, CEO and founder of Instacanvas, said that Instagram users are part of a new generation of photographers that really care about, and are smart about the rights of their photos, and said that the issue really was Facebook letting its "lawyers go crazy" with asserting rights to everything on the service. Munson did say that it's a logical move by Instagram towards Facebook's advertising model. Munson also said that the incident has stressed the importance of being able to support whatever the next platform is for photo sharing, and being prepared for any challenges there if users do revolt against Instagram.