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We all remember the uproar over Instagram allowing you to repost other people’s images through apps it works with. Many of these apps credit the original poster, but many more don’t. If the person reposting your photograph doesn’t credit you, then that credit is just lost.
Well, now businesses can repost photographs and tag their products to sell them. The original photographer may never even know, unless they happen upon the post, or the business uses an app that gives credit to the original photographer.
One photographer, Andy Barnham, stumbled across his photo that was being used to sell an $800 watch precisely because the business that was selling the watch happened to use an app that credited him.
“Who’s at fault?” Barnham wondered in a blog post on his photography website. “The brand is maximizing sales channels while both Insta and the reposting app monetize by trying to increase their user base.”
He continued, “Tagging products in a repost, while offering credit, feels like that one step removed which helps legitimize the process… Ultimately, none of this would be happening if Instgram didn’t exist so, I believe, the buck should stop with them.”
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As for Instagram, it seems the company has bigger fish to fry. Rumors continue to fly that executives are working on a new, Instagram-like app specifically designed for users looking to purchase items. The app also recently unleashed a new update (accidentally) that seemed like a ploy for more advertising money.
Barnham thinks the whole issue boils down to this: “It feels that Instagram is now actively allowing blatant infringement of work for commercial purposes by brands, with no recompense to the creator.”