Instagram changes their TOS (then changes it back) and a week later, Somni Sengupta at NYT Bits Blog is ON IT:

In a blog post on the company site last week, Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, sought to reassure users that their “content,” in Web jargon, belongs to them. He pointed to the company’s Terms of Use, which spelled out that “Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services.”

He added in plainer terms, “We don’t own your photos — you do.” It was a smart tactical move. We tend to be proprietary over the pictures we make and share with friends.

It was also, as the law professor Eric Goldman put it, part of a raft of company policies that can be “misleading shorthand.” We might own our data, but we may not always control what happens to it. There are too many complicated, sometimes impenetrable clauses in company Terms of Service. Take for instance Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. Its users are also told they own their data, but their preferences for certain products – their “likes” – can be used in the service of a type of advertising known as Sponsored Stories.

More succinctly.

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