Please be aware of the following:
In the landmark case AFP v. Morel, the courts decided ruled that the news wire service Agence France Presse violated Daniel Morel’s copyright by distributing images he had posted on Twitter in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake without his permission. Both AFP and Getty Images were found guilty of willful infringement and Morel was awards $1.2 million in statutory damages.
Although the details of the case are somewhat specific to the news distribution business, the main legal takeaway is that the appearance of an image in social media is not a license to use it without permission for any brand.
And their API Platform Policy prohibits violating other users’ rights. In 2015, Groupon was hit with a class action lawsuit for stealing location tagged photos from Instagram and using the images to promote those businesses with Groupon deals. Interestingly, the main claim wasn’t copyright infringement, but using a person’s likeness (aka rights of publicity) to promote a business without their consent.
Even within the Instagram ecosystem, taking someone else’s photo and posting it to your account is a copyright violation. Photographer Catherine McGann sued musician Bruno Mars for taking an image she took of him as a child from her account and posting it to his.
Although many users accept a photo credit or tag as justification for stealing, it’s not legal.
In its strictest definition, the process of “regramming” uses an app to allow users to repost from one Instagram account to another “with credit to the original.” The notion is that the inclusion of a repost icon somehow makes the action legal. It is not. A photo credit is neither a legal license, nor a valid form of compensation.
Regardless of the owner settings on Flickr you should always obtain permission first to use our images.
Do us all a favour and purchase the image. It’s really not expensive to have original, quality photographs of your memorable occasions.