Instagram Copyright | Should We #COPYRIGHT Our Accounts?

instagram copyright

Her profile picture had been used (without permission) to sell haemorrhoid cream! Instagram copyright helpdesk can’t help when it’s used outside of the platform. You’re on your own!

The Problem

We want to share our work, but we don’t want people to misuse our work. Handing our creative work over to a social media platform means letting go of a few things. Like control of who uses it.

Now, you can upload low-resolution versions to limit how someone could use it. Some people put watermarks on their work but I don’t think this serves any purpose other than defacing a perfectly good photograph. They are easily photoshopped out or simply cropped off.

Instagram copyright and copyright law, in general, is a serious “grey area”. Having to get permissions from everyone who wants to share a piece of content on social media is a ridiculous situation. So how do you manage it?

My concern is that I am approaching all of these brands with concepts, ideas, pitches, offers of collaborations and, more often than not, getting the silent treatment. They simply don’t reply to my messages. However, if I post a great piece of content about their brand I can certainly see them reposting it on their feed.

Great! This get’s me some exposure, but …

I can’t earn a living from exposure. I’m unable to spend exposure. The mechanic who fixes my car won’t be too happy if I pay him in numbers of retweets!

Instagram Copyright
A typical Instagram Shot! Watermarked for blog identity, not copyright reasons 😀

To create my content I have to put in time generating ideas, travelling to locations, taking the shots, editing the shots, etc. Like this collab trip to Porche! This is what I invest, so is it right that someone gets to use it for free?

There are people who have had their images taken (without permission) and turned into artworks that sold for £63,000! (Looking at you, Richard Prince).

Crossing The Threshold

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOTS of work for free. I collaborate with some great people and we all have a give-and-take attitude. It works great!

I’m also not against brands using my work. The words Instagram Copyright never enter my head. I just want to be given consideration – they ask me, credit me, etc. It’s then a matter of what I think the value is.

If I see it as a great exposure opportunity, I’ll probably take it. If it is something that will simply make them money, then I want to be compensated too.

I Was Torn!

Instagram Copyright

So, I wanted to make this clear. I wanted there to be no confusion for people who might want to reuse my content.

Using a watermark on my content still doesn’t make sense to me. It only ruins my photos.

Adding a copyright note to my bio also seems to take up valuable space – I want this to ‘sell’ my feed and not be cluttered with legal speak!

What was I to do?

I felt torn between just accepting that people will reuse my content (most of the time, this will be the case) or try to lock everything down.

Instagram Copyright solution | What I’ve Done

Instagram Copyright

I’ve kept my images clear of watermarks and Instagram copyright notices (they don’t help anyway – it’s a false feeling of security). I’ve added a CONTENT USAGE page to my website and I will be referring to it in my captions on Instagram:

“DM for usage – full usage policy available on my website {link in bio}”

On my CONTENT USAGE page, I’ve laid out the types of use I would expect to be paid for and a rough guide price. The ONLY reason I’ve done this is to have something to refer people to when they use my content without permission.

It might sound a little petty but for my own piece of mind, I wanted to have it laid out.

As I’ve said, I do lots of work for free and I’m all for mutual benefit and sharing. But the idea of a brand profiting from the use of my content and assuming that I will be happy with a social shout out is, frankly, disgusting!

Is This Right?

What do you think? How do other people deal with this type of thing? Maybe I’ve gone a little too far? I’d really like some help on this one if you have a minute. If anyone has a better idea or suggestion, let me know in the comments below or drop me a message on Instagram or Twitter.

Don’t forget to join Friends of #J below for extra content giveaways (stuff not on the blog or my social media). Zero spam, zero price … always!

Thanks for reading this far, I look forward to hearing from you, have a great day, watch less – create more,

Ta Raa!



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