Usually when using a photo taken by someone else, it is polite to give credit where credit is due, and generally it’s better to ask for permission first. But the question is, does this apply to all platforms? Is there a difference if you were to share a photo posted on Instagram versus a photo taken from the photographer’s website?

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According to a recent court ruling, there is, and that photos posted onto Instagram are pretty much fair game. This is based on a lawsuit between professional photographer Stephanie Sinclair and website Mashable, in which the latter embedded a photo Sinclair had posted onto Instagram.

The story goes like this: Mashable had put together an article and asked for Sinclair’s permission to use one of her photos and offered her $50 for it. Sinclair declined, but Mashable went ahead and included her photo anyway, although it was done in a way by embedding Sinclair’s Instagram post, meaning that Mashable did not host her photo on their own servers.

According to US District Court Judge Kimba Wood, “Here, [Sinclair] granted Instagram the right to sublicense the Photograph, and Instagram validly exercised that right by granting Mashable a sublicense to display the Photograph.” Interestingly enough, this is a contradicting ruling made on a separate case several years ago.

Previously, there was a similar dispute by different parties, but a New York federal judge had ruled in favor of the photographer, claiming that websites could be liable for using embedded images.

Wood adds, “Unquestionably, Instagram’s dominance of photograph- and video-sharing social media, coupled with the expansive transfer of rights that Instagram demands from its users, means that Plaintiff’s dilemma is a real one. But by posting the Photograph to her public Instagram account, Plaintiff made her choice. This Court cannot release her from the agreement she made.”

Filed in Photo-Video. Read more about and . Source: hollywoodreporter

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