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Does Instagram Own Your Photos and Video Content?


Plixi Team

Mar 26, 2024 8 min read

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We all watched The Social Network movie starring Jesse Eisenberg. Years later, we heard rumblings that Facebook and Instagram were under the “Meta” umbrella. Still, these small bits and pieces aren’t enough to say we understand Instagram. We don’t know who is in charge, and we don’t know where our photos go after we upload them. Does Instagram own your photos?

Do you ever wonder what you agree to when you upload these photos? We’re not trying to make you paranoid. Everyone wonders now and then what is behind the computer screen. If your brand centers around beautiful photos, you may want to know if you’re sharing ownership with someone else. 

Hopefully, this blog post sheds some light on all the technical aspects of Instagram. Are you going to use it to make a living? You probably need to know some things that would hide in the fine print. Get out your magnifying glasses because this article should be interesting.

Does Instagram Own Your Photos and Video Content?

First of All, Who Owns Instagram?

To make a long story short, Meta, once called Facebook, owns Instagram, along with Facebook shareholders. Keep reading if you want the details. 

In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion from the original owners. This turned out to be a very good investment, even though it sounds like a generous payout. The value of Instagram is now about $102 billion. This is a very impressive appreciation in 10 years on the market.

Now, you might be wondering who the original owners of Instagram were. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger originally launched Instagram in 2010. They did a great job, might we add. They were able to attract about 100 users within its first year. No wonder they caught the eye of Facebook.

When Instagram became available on Android, 1 million users downloaded it to join the fun. At this point, Instagram solidified its name as a social media tech giant. By the spring of 2012, Zuckerberg just had to make an offer. Systrom Krieger accepted the $1 billion. 

So, who owns Meta? No, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t own Meta. Well, he’s not the only owner. Meta is a publicly traded company. This essentially means that ownership of the company belongs to multiple people or other companies. 

Some owners include Mark Zuckerberg, Vanguard, Sean Parker, and State Street Global. Since Meta values at over half $1 billion, you can imagine that the major stakeholders have billions of dollars invested. So, who owns Instagram? The shareholders of Facebook do.

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Does Facebook Own Your Instagram Photos?

No, Facebook does not own your Instagram photos, according to the IG Terms of Service. Now that you know who owns Instagram, it raises another question. You might be asking, “Does Facebook own your Instagram photos?” You don’t want your content to end up somewhere you didn’t put it. To answer this, let’s find out what the Instagram Terms of Service have to say. “We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it.”

Of course, the answer is not as clear as no. There are a few conditions that you need to understand. 

What the Instagram Terms of Service Mean for Your Account

Even though Instagram tries to be clear in its Terms of Service, you may still need some clarification. That’s fair. Hopefully, we can provide it here. Let’s break down what these Terms mean for your account. 

You must be wondering about photographs that you took yourself. Do they belong to Instagram or Facebook now? No, they don’t. You will always be the true owner of your original content. 

However, when you upload to the platform, you give Instagram a license. This means that they can do whatever they want with your content without further reference to you. They don’t have to pay for it either. They can also permit other people to use your content as well. They can use this picture to make money without you even knowing.

Maybe you’re not okay with this after all. You’ve uploaded private moments, including those with your family. They didn’t agree for their photos to be all over the world. You can end this license by deleting the content on the platform. Or, you could also close your account down completely.

Also, remember that you only give this power to Instagram. Other users on the platform should get your permission before using your content. They do not have the non-exclusive license to your content that Instagram does. 

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What Is Copyright?

Copyright is the legal right of an owner of intellectual property. Intellectual property can include images, videos, or written work. Copyright law protects the owner of these things. 

Only the person with a copyright can manipulate and reproduce this work. Of course, they have full power to authorize someone to manipulate or reproduce the work. Countries typically have their copyright laws that protect owners. 

Can You Get Copyrighted on Instagram?

Yes, you can receive a copyright strike on Instagram. If you’re going to share visual media on the Internet, you should have a working knowledge of copyright law. You want to make sure that no one is violating you or your rights. You also want to make sure that you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights.

How Does One Get a Copyright Strike on Instagram?

You get a copyright strike by reproducing the original work of a copyright owner. So, we explained that you give Instagram the worldwide license to use your material once you upload it on the platform. This doesn’t mean that everyone has the right to your material. It also doesn’t mean that you have the right to everyone else’s material on the platform. 

Whatever other users upload on the platform is their intellectual property. You do not have the right to manipulate or duplicate it for your use. This can include their graphic designs, their art, or their poetry. This is their protected original work. They don’t necessarily have to register this work with their government for the rights to exist.

You have the copyright to your original work as soon as you create it. This goes for Instagram reels, feed posts, and Instagram stories. If what you produce is yours, no one is allowed to reproduce it. Of course, if you need to take legal action, it’s best to have these rights on paper. It is at that point that you may need to speak to your country’s intellectual property office. 

So, can you get copyrighted on Instagram? Yes, you can. Instagram takes copyright infringement seriously. If you decide to post copyrighted material, your account will be at risk. It will even go as far as disabling your entire account if it finds that you are reproducing copyrighted content. The platform encourages creativity stemming from original work.

You Have the Option of an Instagram Copyright Appeal

Sometimes, you never intended to infringe on someone’s copyright. Accidents happen. Misunderstandings happen as well. A copyright strike is very serious. If you think that you received one in error, you should do what you can to have it removed. Consider engaging in an Instagram copyright appeal. Hopefully, this will bring your page back into the good graces of Instagram.

Protect Your Brand on Instagram

Think about how long it took you to come up with that Instagram handle. It has the perfect balance of explaining what your brand is about while still being unique. It hints at the location of the brand while still having a worldwide appeal.

Since your name is so good, you should want to protect it. This goes for your logo as well. You took our advice, and you created a strong brand identity. You have your brand colors and a specific brand font. To make sure that no one steals your brilliant ideas, consider making a trademark. 

When we say this, we mean that you should go to the intellectual property office in your country. There you can secure the rights of your name. You might be well-known on Instagram, but you need legal documentation if you see this brand going the distance.

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So, Does Instagram Own Your Photos? No, You Do!

You have full autonomy over the content that you produce on Instagram. You get to be as creative as you want and have fun. You can ultimately even earn a living from the platform. Of course, you’ll have to have a healthy following full of your target audience. How do you get there? With a little help. And we don’t mean help from Creative Commons!

Plixi has the tools to help you do it! We have an in-house platform for Instagram influencers. There is even a propriety AI targeting algorithm. You won’t have to ask, “Does Instagram own your photos?” anymore! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.

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