Own your creations. Social networks want them for a reason.
You may decide someday to give away the rights to your photos to help an idea spread faster. You may decide someday to sell your rights to the highest bidder. But it should always remain your decision.
Today, photographers were in an uproar because Instagram updated its terms of service, as noted in the New York Times blog:
“A section of the new terms of service, titled ‘Rights,’ notes that Instagram will also be able to use your photographs and identity in advertisements. ‘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,’ the new terms say. This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook. In addition, someone who doesn’t use Instagram could end up in an advertisement if they have their photograph snapped and shared on the service by a friend. Facebook already runs ads that make use of people’s activity on its site.”
This should surprise no one. Social networks are not built for you. They’re built for advertisers or buyers. Instagram just shifted from serving potential buyers to serving the advertiser. You’re still not invited to party.
As for Facebook…here’s one of my favorite guides to your rights on Facebook from IBM’s Social Media Expert Luis Suarez:
“Facebook does not allow me to own my content. That’s not debatable.”