THE BLOG
12/19/2012 09:20 am ET Updated Feb 18, 2013

What Am I to You, Instagram?

Dear Instagram,

While reading your new terms of use, I wondered a few things.

When you say that Instagram "does not claim ownership of any Content," were you hoping I'd be easily satisfied and stop reading right then and there? Did you think I would miss the next sentence, which totally refutes the one before it? Did you think I wouldn't know what granting Instagram a "non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use that Content" means? Did you think that by phrasing that sentence with such jumbled prose I would docilely trust you with my intellectual property? Do you know what claiming "no ownership" means to us simpletons?

When Picasso said that great artists steal, is this what he meant?

When, in point two, you note that the divinely capitalized "Service" may sell my "username, likeness, photos... and/or actions," were you hoping I would hear "like" and be immediately diverted back to Facebook, that great distracter, and forget about you, at least for a while? Or were you hoping I would have no idea what you meant by "likeness" and that I probably wouldn't like my likeness anyway and thus be unopposed to your capitalizing on it? Were you hoping that I viewed my actions as so poor that I would have no problem with your selling them? What would anyone other than admissions officers, my parents, or Santa want with my actions?

When you ask that I be respectful of the Instagram name and logo -- which "may not be copied, imitated or used, in whole or in part, without prior written permission of Instagram" -- how can I believe that you believe that this is the treatment you deserve? What makes your name and logo more valuable than my username and photographs?

After skimming my questions, did you think, naturally, that I am some naive, elitist, communistic, all-wanting prick? (Did you think I wouldn't hear you?) Did you not consider nicer, less misleading ways to phrase your terms? Did you not consider that photographers, who take pride in their work, would be offended by this Kill of Rights? Did you consider including, at minimum, a clause to promise to credit the photographer when you co-opt their work for your own monetary gain?

Did it need to be me, a perpetually tired, increasingly disillusioned, childishly passionate high school student to expose these faults in your callous terms? Did you think that just because you have wrought such a perfectly brilliant product that you are somehow divinely infallible?

Did it occur to you, as it seems it has, that when I told my friends that I love you, I meant it unconditionally? Looking at my daily use of your Product, whose name shall not be used, does that seem to have been the case? Do I seem to be digging myself into an increasingly deep hole?

Yes, I do. But, as I calm my tone, please remember that photographers deeply care about their work, which is dangerous for you because photographers now account for a majority of the first world's population. Please, do not forget to give credit where credit is due.

I'll try it first: thank you.

See? Painless.

Editor's Note: Since this post was written, Instagram published a blog post addressing the concerns of their users. The staff clarified confusion that arose due to the language of the terms, writing: "To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

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