Photographers, beware this copyright grab on Instagram

Dec 26, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographers, beware this copyright grab on Instagram

Dec 26, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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If you’re a photographer and share your work on Instagram and other social networks, chances are someone will contact you to ask for a use of your photo. And when this happens, make sure to always read the fine print. Otherwise, you may give someone an unlimited usage of your work without being aware of it.

Photographer Ben Sassani recently shared an aerial photo of New York City on his Instagram account. The beautiful photo gained a lot of comments, and one of them asked Ben for permission to share his image. Conrad New York Midtown (a Hilton-owned hotel) left a comment on Ben’s photo reading:

“@bensassani! We are sharing our favorite NYC views and would love to share this photo on our platforms providing you with credit. If we have your permission, please reply to this comment with #AgreeConrad. Terms of Use: HiltonIGRules.com. Thank you!”

Ben wasn’t lazy and did his homework. He visited the website provided in the comment and read the terms and conditions. As photographers, I believe you can immediately see why these terms and conditions are fishy:

“After reading the fine print, they essentially would be able to use the photo to profit in any shape or form they’d like (if) once I agree,” Ben told PetaPixel.

Many people (myself included) wondered if the agreement would be legally binding if you just comment #AgreeConrad on Instagram. PetaPixel asked NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher for more information, and it turned out that there are reasons to be concerned:

“While the document may be short (by other online agreement standards), the photographer had every reason to be alarmed as the terms he read grant unlimited permission to use the photo in any way they choose without any remuneration and also place all the liability for any improper use by Hilton on the photographer submitting the work. Additionally, they can use his personal information along with the work.”

While many of us would read the terms provided and decide whether or not to agree, keep in mind that many photographers wouldn’t do the same thing. I believe it especially applies to those who are just starting out. First of all, they can be flattered by an offer like this. They need exposure, so they might agree without thinking it through too much. And also, they may still not know much about the legal side of photography and copyright. As Osterreicher put it, these “hashtag opportunities” are “a rights grab that is often not read or understood.”

So, no matter if you’re an experienced photographer or a newbie, let this be a friendly reminder to always read terms and conditions, including the fine print (especially the fine print). No matter how tempting an offer may sound, make sure to read and learn more about it before you agree to anything.

[via PetaPixel]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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9 responses to “Photographers, beware this copyright grab on Instagram”

  1. Dave Goldman Avatar
    Dave Goldman

    What do you people expect its facebook lol

  2. Martijn van Oers Avatar
    Martijn van Oers

    So good luck using my low res, square images ?

    1. Freelance cameraman China/HK Avatar
      Freelance cameraman China/HK

      With a tag in the middle!

    2. John David Avatar
      John David

      Martijn With algorithms, they can easily be upsized.

  3. Sergi Yavorski Avatar
    Sergi Yavorski

    Well, at least they are asking. Be smart about it – that’s all.

  4. John Ong Avatar
    John Ong

    What bugs me is that at the end of the day, Conrad will just search #AgreeConrad and use whatever image that was given the agreement, so maybe the image isn’t so special to attract them in the first place. On the other hand, we can wreck havoc using that hashtag in all our images to get their attention if we want those attention LOL.

  5. Lloyd Durham Avatar
    Lloyd Durham

    Take a hike.

  6. damn.eu Avatar
    damn.eu

    So if you are really unlucky you could sign your rights away to two different and perhaps competing organisations.

    If one or both of them found out, they might both then decide to sue the photographer.

    Perhaps.

  7. Ryan Evans Avatar
    Ryan Evans

    Well if someone asks to use one of you images and then sends “YOU” a term and conditions, you should tell them to fuck off right then and there…