Who really owns your Instagram content?

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 20.12.14When the average user thinks no further than how to garner the most likes and follows with pretty filters, catchy tag lines and however many hashtags they can apply to that picture of their dinner, however shocking the reality, it’s no wonder few of us really think twice before accepting social network terms of use without reading them. We effectively hand over a bunch of rights we take for granted are ours to keep without blinking. Thankfully, there are people like technology lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, Nerushka Deosaran, who are happy to simplify them for us. In the case of Instagram, snap with caution. And please, for the love of God, don’t post nudes. – CH

By Nerushka Deosaran* 

Who owns your Instagram content?

You do (at least as between you and Instagram—your employer may have ownership rights in certain situations)!  Instagram does not claim ownership of any content that you post.

You do grant Instagram very broad license rights:  a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use content that you post.  This license grant means that you have given Instagram the right to use any of your photos for free, for any reason, anywhere in the world.  Instagram can also give those rights to a third party.

Under Instagram’s terms, you must ensure that you own the content that you post or at least have the right to grant Instagram these rights and licenses to the content.  You are also responsible to pay any royalties, fees or money owed for the content that you post.

If someone is infringing your copyright on Instagram, you can report copyright abuse.  Instagram may remove infringing content or disable the accounts of repeat copyright infringers.  It is common practice to re-share content of other users of Instagram, if the source of the content is acknowledged.

You should also bear the following in mind when using Instagram:


1              Do’s:

  • You must be at least 13 years old to use the app.  You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your account, for your conduct and for the content you post.  You agree not to assign your account or any rights to your account to another person.
  • You may deactivate your account by completing this form.  Once deactivated, your content will no longer be accessible through your account but may continue to appear if, for example, it has been re-shared by others.  If your account has been hacked, Instagram allows you to report it.
  • You must comply with Instagram’s community guidelines.  In short, Instagram explains the guidelines as follows:
    • Post your own photos and videos.
    • Keep your clothes on.
    • Be respectful.
    • Don’t spam.
    • Have fun!


2              Don’ts:

  • You are prohibited from creating an account for anyone other than yourself unless you (or your business) is expressly authorised to create accounts on behalf of your employer (or clients).
  • You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content.
  • You must not defame, stalk, bully, abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate people or entities and you must not post private or confidential information.


3              Liability

  • Under Instagram’s terms, Instagram may modify or terminate your access at any time and for any reason without notice and liability.  Instagram is not liable to you for any losses you may suffer through use of the app but if they are, liability is limited to USD100, 00 (if a limit to liability is lawful in your jurisdiction).
  • Instagram is not liable for any interaction you may have with a third party app and your interaction with apps connected to Instagram is at your own discretion and risk.  See our previous blog on APIs.
  • You (and any third party you operate an account for) agree to defend, indemnify and hold Instagram harmless from any liabilities arising as a result of your direct activities or those conducted on your behalf.  If you are using Instagram on behalf of another legal entity you must have the authority to enter into the Instagram terms on their behalf.


Nerushka Deosaran is a technology lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright. An LLB graduate of the University of Pretoria, Nerushka focuses on information technology, e-commerce and privacy. In the last year she has presented at ITWeb’s Social Media Summit, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Cloud Seminar for financial services, ITWeb’s Governance, Risk and Compliance seminar, and the Digital Media Marketing Conference.  She was also invited onto a panel discussion at Kinetic Event’s ITLeaders Africa Summit discussing the Protection of Personal Information Bill and privacy. 

Visited 113 times, 1 visit(s) today