Come On, Everybody Pile On Instagram

This is the week when everybody is piling on the folks at Instagram, and the social media photo sharing giant blinked. Well, it squinted.

santa truman

Ho Ho Ho

Note to self for 2013: 1) Create massively popular app that everyone will fall in love with; 2) Sell said app to the highest bidder; 3) Relax and retire in some warm climate; 4) Let others worry about all that legal stuff.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to put in the fine print somewhere that the rules of engagement for the app are subject to change at a moment’s notice — but only by you.

This week, the folks who run Instagram got caught with their proverbial fingers in the cookie jar when they said that images communicated via the clever photo-sharing service could be sold by the operators of Instagram.

It took a couple of days, but the ire of the photo-sharing public finally reached critical mass. The tipping point came on Tuesday when Instagram issued a mea culpa of sorts. A “my bad” statement to its users, promising never to sell their images.

The intention wasn’t so much to sell the images without compensating the producers of the intellectual property as it was to watch the trends of what was being posted. Or so they said.


Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, posted a blog on Tuesday apologizing for the confusion. OK, I’ll give the guy some credit for the post. Hearing the masses and owning up to the issue took some real guts.

What might be of greater importance is the pipeline of piracy that the Internet has become. The open pipeline with simple downloading has made every piece of information we post susceptible to being taken for someone else’s use.

Many of the social media sites have it written in fine print that once something is posted to their sites, it becomes part of their property. Raise your hand if you read the fine print on many of the online apps, etc., that you simply click the “I agree” tab on and then move on.

This has already caused considerable problems for the holders of copyrights.

One thought I had throughout all this debate – and the controversy appears to be far from over – is why not ask people if they want to sell their images, and then pay them for it? That’s right. In this age of GPS, cookies and complex online tracking, why not let people opt in to having their pictures sold and then send them some cash.

OMG, we never thought of that. Hmmmmm??????????????

This horse, however much we hate to admit it, is well out of the barn. The laws and ethics regarding new technology have once again grown incrementally while technology has galloped ahead exponentially. The gap between what we can do and what we should do has never been wider and the black hole of ethics lost appears to be getting ever larger.

So what can we do to protect ourselves? Go off the grid? That’s easier said than done.

The common advice is to only post what you don’t mind other people getting their hands on. Use the privacy settings whenever possible. Pray.











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