• Manojna Yeluri

Do you own the content you share on Instagram?

Instagram has been a game-changer for many creators, who have used the social media platform to share their creative and artistic content. Whether it’s original music or design work, Instagram has played a huge role in furthering the discovery of beautiful, bespoke content and connecting creators to a ton of opportunities.

Having said that, here’s a question worth asking; who owns the content once it’s been posted?

While we continue to retain the copyright over the material or post we’ve shared, Instagram’s terms also make it clear that by agreeing to use the platform, we agree to grant them a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of the uploaded content, consistent with our privacy settings. 

So that means:

  1. Yes, we still have a copyright over our work but; 

  2. That doesn’t stop Instagram from wanting to use it somewhere else via a sub-license; and

  3. If you’re working with someone to release exclusive content, this might potentially interfere with those obligations. 

While Instagram encourages the culture of sharing content through reposts, it most certainly doesn’t excuse plagiarism or copying. If you find someone sharing an exact copy or an adaptation of your work, without informing or crediting you, you can go after them as the original copyright owner. Instagram encourages you to reach out to the offending account first, before possibly reporting the infringement using this form. It also shares community guidelines as well as a section on intellectual property rights, both of which might help provide context if you’re looking to make an infringement claim. 

Bottom line, you’re still the owner of your own content on Instagram, and so that means that you still have the rights and privileges that come with being a copyright owner. Except with instagram itself.