Online Learning Journal

INF206 | Salinafix

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Creative Commons continued

Following on from my post about how it’s a struggle to understand creative commons licencing, this post from Bobbie Newman aka Librarian by Day highlights how complicated using Creative Commons licenced photos really is. Slipper slope springs to mind.

Bobbi says that she has begun weaning herself off Flickr photos and on to using her own or sometimes paying for images (Newman, 2013). So I feel a little better about my concerns and confusion over exactly what is useable and what isn’t. The comments on this blog post are also very insightful and have given me some more ideas to explore.

In the meantime, I think I’ll aim to be using my own images as well and keep trying to find blog posts and articles which assist in my understanding of using images.

Newman, B. (2013, January 27). The Danger of Using Creative Commons Flickr Photos in Presentations. Librarian by Day. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from


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Instagram = clear as mud

Update: (a slightly late one) Instagram took it all back! They reverted to the original ToS a couple of days after Instagram armageddon took place. So all is well in Instagram world. Power to the people!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or do not use social media or watch/listen to the mainstream media) Instagram have ruffled feathers by releasing a new Terms of Service (ToS) which has caused a great deal of argument and consternation amongst its users.

I will now confess to be completely bamboozled by these new (or maybe not new T0S) and what to do. In fact this .GIF is a visual representation of my reaction:

Eddie Izzard on iTunes Terms and Conditions tumblr_m4hejj0lKx1qif4fro2_250

tumblr_m4hejj0lKx1qif4fro3_250 the brilliant Mr Izzard


I can’t be the only one who is completely confused and bewildered by these changes. And a read through of Twitter this morning proved me right. Many articles, blog posts, radio interviews ranging from “it’s terrible, delete your account immediately” to “don’t be so stupid, nothing has changed, carry on”.

So. The ‘new’ ToS states that:

you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

Which seems to be saying that Instagram or businesses may use your photos, username and metadata (like location) in promotional content without paying you.

A good example I heard today was what if you were at a party and someone took a pic saying “I love parties and Grey Goose vodka”, Grey Goose vodka could then use that photo in an ad.  Too bad if you are Muslim or a non-drinker or have a personal objection to the Grey Goose brand.

Then today, Instagram’s CEO posted a blog post about Instagram realising everyone had gone into a panic and that they would need to ‘fine tune’ the wording of the ToS . Instagram stated that “it is not our intention to sell your photos”.


Surely before releasing a new ToS Instagram would have checked wording and ensured it didn’t require pretty much immediate clarification to prevent a mass exodus from their service? Perhaps Eddie Izzard is correct and they wrote it using the same method that iTunes uses?

Then I came across an article which tells the Instagram users of the world that they are stupid if they are panicking because NOTHING HAS CHANGED and the wording of the T0S is the same as it was before. They just shuffled some words around.


So let me try and get my head around this. Instagram have always had the option to use people’s photographs? And some people have even used a Creative Commons licence to allow people to use their Instagram pics (including me). Now advertising will be placed in Instagram and your pics can be used in advertisements, whether or not your photo is actually for or against the product.

I was hoping that writing this post would help me to understand what is actually going on here. But I’m even more confused than I was before. Information and decision making overload is one of the most difficult aspects of having an online life. My blogs have a Creative Commons licence, surely I should be able to apply it to anywhere I dwell online?

I’m still undecided on what to do. On the one hand I am fully aware that having an online life means that people have access to me, my thoughts, images and what I do. And it is good to take steps to ensure that you don’t share EVERYTHING. On the other hand, I am uncomfortable with my images (possibly) being used to promote businesses or products. And now that Instagram have had to do a little dance and tell everyone “we’re working on it” makes me concerned that they didn’t think this through properly in the first place. They are owned by Facebook now who like to make money and tell us what we like. Is this a step too far?

So my thinking will continue. Instagram users have until the middle of January 2013 to cancel your account and remove your images from Instagram.

This will be an interesting story to follow over the next days and week.