Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Instagram Is Right To Want To Sell User Photos To Advertisers—If You Want To Talk About Empowerment Rather Than Selfishness, I Am Ready For The Discussion

I read today about the prospect of Instagram selling user photos to advertisers.  This caused an uproar on the web. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
(Above–You get what you pay for.  This is a picture I took in Downtown Houston last week.)
I don’t see how a for-profit company that people often use yet refuse to pay for, owes either privacy or even simple respect to so-called customers.
Use of Facebook is a transaction in which we offer our lives, relationships & thoughts as a commodity to a corporation that logically expects to make a profit. I get more than a fair deal from Facebook.
This blog is written on WordPress. I don’t pay for the service. WordPress runs ads on my posts to help meet the costs of the business. I don’t see any of the revenue that these ads generate. Why should I? WordPress has been providing me with a “free” service for over six years so far.
If you want to discuss a worker’s uprising in a nation where hard work increasingly does not pay off, or the fact that the web and associated technologies are bringing about intrusive private sector and government tracking of our lives—I’m happy to discuss all that and I’m set for big changes in our nation. I’m firmly of the left and I’m ready to be part of moving our nation to the left.
However, I’m less open to the view that the fruits of other people’s labor and ideas should be offered for free, and yet at the same time we don’t like the terms of the exchange. There is little ideology or belief of any kind behind this type of thinking other than selfishness.
If folks want to talk about real empowerment rather than selfishness, I am ready for the discussion.

December 19, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. Hmmm. Though I don’t disagree with your argument (in general) about Facebook and its terms of use, the problem with applying it to the Instagram issue is that copyright law, tested time and time (and time) again, is that the photographer holds the rights to an image, not the subject or the publisher (we’re not talking about an image with Michele Bachmann’s face Photoshopped onto the Grinch’s body, right?). Since the modern tenets of our society are that intellectual property is more valuable than gold, oil, or human life itself, any company én masse claiming ownership of every image that crosses its servers is simply asking for class-action litigation, and is unlikely to prevail in a jury proceeding (particularly in the tort-crazy South).

    Comment by Sleeve98 | December 19, 2012

  2. Sleeve–Thanks for this perspective. I enjoy your assessment of the view of intellectual property in our society.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | December 21, 2012

  3. “is that copyright law, tested time and time (and time) again, is that the photographer holds the rights to an image, not the subject or the publisher”

    And in the Instagram case, the photographer would exchange his rights for access to the Instagram service, just as if he’d sold them for money or other consideration.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | January 3, 2013

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