"Photography is my passion, my calling, and my means of livelihood. It is how I provide for my family and send my children to school. Now Instagram and Facebook want to take my hard earned imagery — imagery that at times, I and others have risked life and limb for — and use it to generate income for themselves.What they have done is signaled the end and failure of what could have been a revolutionary social media platform for visual communication. Now, I must take a step back and reassess my place on Instagram. "—Benjamin Lowy
22 Dec 2012
Benjamin Lowy could not have said it better. I want to thank both Facebook and Instagram for taking away the opportunity for me to continue to live my life as I have in the past taking away all the years of training, networking, traveling and risking my own life to tell the stories to the rest of the world and generate an income for my own survival.
I have spoken to those who are not photographers but who are businessmen about the problem with free access to images and its effects on our profession and livelihood. The response is something like this, "Well, everyone has the right to take photographs and put them online and the companies can use the images if they want. If they can save money then it is their right to do so."
This is a reflection of our ever changing world and the effects of technology and social networks generating arrogance with a lack of social responsibility while entire fields of careers are completely destroyed. In turn, this leaves more and more people out of work and having to change careers with less jobs to find. Then of course, less money to spend and more businesses closing down.
Social networking such as Facebook and Instagram actions with usage rights are now slowing dissolving the world of photo reporters and their ability to earn a living. Not to mention the quality of images in most publications and news outlets has diminished to a simple point and shoot frame.
Instagram had so much flack from hard core users such as National Geographic and leading photographers that they decided to roll back their new terms, but they are not that different than before. National Geographic has decided to renew their Instagram usage and That may be fine for someone big like National Geographic or Time, but what about the individual photographer who struggles to make a living?
I would like the option to post on Facebook or Instagram after I have sold an image to share, BUT if Time magazine wants to put a posted image on the front page, I want to get paid for it. That is how others and myself survive. Publishing an image on the front page of Time is a big deal and who knows what the photographer has gone through to get to that point. Normally, in the photography world we have to work hard for countless hours and climb our way up. We train, we get wet, we travel, we don't sleep, we watch wars, we stay up all night, and sometimes we become an ear for those who need to talk. For us, it is not just point and shoot it is our lives and our passions.
How would you feel if driving down the street in Times Square and you see your image on a huge sign and was never told about it nor paid for it? That image could be worth thousands and they used it for free brought to you by Instagram or Facebook.
"you choose to send us content, information, ideas, suggestions, or other materials, you further agree that Instagram is free to use any such content, information, ideas, suggestions or other materials, for any purposes whatsoever, including, without limitation, developing and marketing products and services, without any liability or payment of any kind to you."
Last but not least the famous ARBITRATION NOTICE: EXCEPT IF YOU OPT-OUT AND EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF DISPUTES DESCRIBED IN THE ARBITRATION SECTION BELOW, YOU AGREE THAT DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND INSTAGRAM WILL BE RESOLVED BY BINDING, INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION AND YOU WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OR CLASS-WIDE ARBITRATION.
This takes away the users power to use legal remedies.
A class action lawsuit was filed on the 21st by the San Diego Law Firm, Finklestein and Krisnk. They feel that Facebook owned Instagram new terms include unlawful taking of users property rights, unfair business practices, and breach of contract.
As for myself, I never used Instagram and hardly Facebook to put my images...unless they are watermarked, signed, and paid for. It is great for spreading the word about my work, and gaining visibility. But, I don't like to "share" images of my personal life with those out there in the world that I don't know at least as much as many others do.
Now is the time, to be careful and go back to the old days, before there was internet and physically knock on doors to get the work!
"They have just killed Instagram. I will never use it under any circumstance with these terms. "—Christopher Morris