Get ready to feel a little more violated: Instagram has decided it can now sell your photos. Without telling you. And you have no say. And won't see a penny. In a new intellectual property policy revealed yesterday and set to take effect Jan. 16, Facebook-owned Instagram now retains the "perpetual right" to license its users' photos, CNET reports. The move "effectively transform[s] the website into the world's largest stock photo agency," writes Declan McCullagh, allowing it to, say, sell your Miami vacation photos to the hotel you stayed at.
How do you opt out? You can't! The only option users have is to delete their accounts before Jan. 16, explains McCullagh, who warns that photos taken by users who delete their accounts after the deadline may still be up for grabs. He does acknowledge that the photo sales may never come to pass, as "lawyers often draft overly broad language to permit future business opportunities that may never arise." Still, "the company's silence in the face of questions ... hasn't helped." If you want to read the technical nitty-gritty that gives Facebook/Instagram these new rights (and protects them from liability), CNET breaks it down for you. Wired explains how to download your photos before deleting your account.