If you’ve ever had a website or blog embed one of your Instagram posts on their website, you may be able to sue them for using it without your permission. That’s according to an ongoing lawsuit between Newsweek and a photographer, after the company embedded one of their Instagram posts on their website.
As reported by Ars Technica, Newsweek had originally asked for permission to use the photo without the embed, but after being turned down, they chose to use Instagram’s embed feature to display the image. Now, the legality of that is in question, with Instagram seemingly siding with its users and the artists that post original content on the Facebook-owned social platform.
In a statement to Ars, a Facebook spokesperson notes: “While our terms allow us to grant a sub-license, we do not grant one for our embeds API. Our platform policies require third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders. This includes ensuring they have a license to share this content, if a license is required by law.”
This can be a bit confusing, but basically, it means that even though you are using a feature that is available through Instagram, you may need to get permission from the poster before embedding it on your website. If you don’t get that, you may open yourself up to copyright lawsuits from the original poster.
Now, it should be noted that this new lawsuit is still in the early stages, but Judge Katherine Failla did not dismiss the case during preliminaries.
This isn’t the first time the legality of embedding an Instagram post has come up. In April, Mashable dealt with a very similar case, with the judge ruling in favor of Mashable. That case ruled that the photographer “granted Instagram the right to sublicense the photograph, and Instagram validly exercised that right by granting Mashable a sublicense to display the photograph.”
Now, with Instagram’s new statement on the matter, what once seemed cut-and-dry is now murky at best. Make sure to check out Ars Technica’s in-depth report on the situation.