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.”