Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Facebook Subsidiary Instagram in Gigantic Attempted (?) IP Rights Grab of User Photos: Users Flocking to Instagram Alternatives

Facebook's Instagram in its new terms of service is apparently continuing a tradition, emphasized e.g. at the Apple firm, which is to rip off gullible consumers as much as possible. Jenna Wortham has the story at the New York Times in Facebook Responds to Anger Over Proposed Instagram Change.

The fact is that Instagram changed its terms of service effective January 16, 2013, so that arguably -- based on those terms -- user photos could be used by the company free of charge for advertising purposes. Savvy users have of course raised a firestorm of protest and many are shifting to alternative services.

The result of these protests and massive user concern is that the legalese in the terms of service is allegedly to be changed so that user photos can not used by Instagram for free in their advertising, which appears to this commentator to be clearly illegal anyway, even if the terms of service would provide for it.

Such broad, blanket appropriations of rights are sham contracts imposed upon users unilaterally for one party's benefit and should not be enforceable.

One way to tell companies that this kind of theft of intellectual property will not be tolerated is to move to alternative services.

See for example Craig Kanalley at the Huffington Post in
Instagram Alternatives: 11 Photo-Sharing Apps To Consider In Light Of New Terms Of Service.

This entire debacle should alert all Internet users to the reality that commercial enterprises are out there to make money for themselves -- at USER cost. People who use the Internet should stop bowing to all the ridiculous garble and hype thrown at them by the hawkers and should become better informed about what is actually going on in the real world.

The people who run these companies are not -- as often touted by the sometimes clueless mainstream press -- heroes or even "geniuses". They are common merchants viz. traders hawking their wares for personal and company profit. Consumers should view those people accordingly. Caveat emptor.

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