Sociable Blog: Navigating The Pitfalls Of Copyright Infringement When Posting On Instagram
Navigating The Pitfalls Of Copyright Infringement When Posting On Instagram Posted by: Joe G Naylor on December 21, 2017
As Instagram and other social media platforms have fully ingrained themselves into our every day lives, sharing photos with friends, family, colleagues and the world at large has become second nature. Given that, I’m pretty confident in saying that the first thought that crosses your mind when sharing that super cool shot of Ed Sheeran or of that tantalizing portrait of the perfect burger, with protruding bacon and oozing gruyere, is not whether or not you are about to commit copyright infringement.
Below, I try to shine a little bit of light on some of the issues swirling around copyright infringement and Instagram.
Do I Give Up My Copyrights When I Post My Photos On Instagram? Your copyrights are established the instant you take a photo. The only exceptions are if you shoot photos for your employer or sign a valid special commission agreement that vests the copyrights to your photos in your client.
As the copyright owner, you have exclusive rights in the photograph, including the right to reproduce copies, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, and publicly display them. Violation of any one of these rights by another party can be an infringement under federal law, even if done innocently and without any commercial purpose.
And the last time I checked, Instagram is not a not-for-profit organization. So while Instagram can be a powerful tool to promote your work, it is important to be aware of the potential rights you are giving to Instagram in the process.
Therefore, you may be liable for infringement by reposting that photo.
Furthermore, even if Instagram’s license is valid, it is unclear that it has been properly transferred/sublicensed to users of the Repost App. As such, the Repost App raises questions related to the unauthorized reproduction and public display of copyright images that may subject its users to infringement liability.
All the while, neither providing a link back to the “original” source of an image nor providing a clear statement of where an image was sourced is ever, by itself, a defense to infringement. Even if you tag the account, you have still not properly licensed the image for distribution. Copyright holders always appreciate proper crediting but appreciate proper licensing practices even more.
What If I Post A Picture Of A Celebrity I Find Online?
These rules don’t just pertain to you, they also extend to the celebrities themselves. It is important to know that just because a celebrity posted a photo of themselves to their Instagram doesn’t mean that you can repost it to your page as well. When celebrities are photographed, the photographer owns the rights to the image, not the celebrity.
In fact, there are more and more stories making the news these days about celebrities being sued for copyright infringement for posting pictures of themselves to social media without first obtaining permission from the photographer. Just ask Khloe Kardashian.
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