Instagram, Intellectual Property, and Permission

Marketers & IP folk – I need your take on the third party use of  Instagram photos. Instagram_Icon_Large

As I’m sure you know  (and if you don’t… hey!) we do a Photo of the Week series on the CheapEats blogs  (Toronto / Ottawa) which we’ve been running using our Flickr Groups (Toronto / Ottawa  and very soon Vancouver / Montreal )   I’d to expand the submission options to Instagram, a la Gastropost who allows people to submit photos for their weekly challenge simply by tagging them in Instagram.

But here’s my question:

is tagging enough to give permission for reuse? I.e. if the image is tagged #CheapEats or something a bit more esoteric, is that sufficient “permission” for us to reuse and repost the image on our sites?

We’ve been noodling this question with no clear answer since Instagram launched.  But Gastropost provides a clear example of using tagging as “permission” across multiple social platforms. And is using it as sufficient to repost onto their site and in the print version of the paper, but I’m paranoid.


[In the meantime, here’s one of my Instagram shots of Zane and Mark]

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

2 thoughts on “Instagram, Intellectual Property, and Permission

  • February 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Gastropost has you sign up for their program, which suggests that they are comfortable with you understanding that they are going to use your pictures hashtagged Gastropost in their program.  They also acknowledge receipt of your submission (in my case, through Twitter usually) and show where it is posted. If someone feels misunderstood, this would be their time to speak up.  These approaches suggest a bit of a ‘handshake’ on sharing.  Dialog is always a good thing when using the work of others.

    • February 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      You make an excellent point that they have a progressive engagement process that steps people through the permissions process.
      Dialog is very important to us too, and we ask for explicit permission even implicit permission has been given through submission to the CheapEats pools.  Keeping that same dialog permission path would certainly remove any contention.
      Thanks for your thoughtful reply amwaters


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