Update: Instagram Won't Sell Your Photos?

Instagram's co-founder Kevin Systrom has posted an update regarding the new Terms of Use statement the company released on Monday. Tonight's post calls into question a significant porition of the what the new Terms of Use statement was proposing. One very interesting excerpt from Systrom's post (which may be found in its unfortunate entirety here): "Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos." Actually, the language was not confusing! The Terms explicitly state that Instagram would be granted a "non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license" over all photos. That amounts to the right to use ("modify, delete from, add to, and publicly display") said photos for free without compensating the users.  You also said: "You agree that a business or other entity may pay [Instagram] 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." It's really not that confusing.

So, it sounds like Systrom is essentially back-tracking and trying to convince you that the language was confusing, as opposed to saying "Ok. So, this is a bad idea." Then, in an attempt to "clear up confusion," Instagram's statement says it wants to "experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram," and then provides you with a hypothetical business scenario. First of all, what the hell does "experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram" even mean? Second, this isn't a law school exam. You can keep the hypos to yourself. Conclusion: Facebook is super afraid that we are all going to quit Instagram and that $1B they just paid for it would be a big loss.