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Instagram Change to Prevent Third-Party Embeds

By December 20, 2021No Comments
Screenshot of NANPA's Instagram page which will be making changes due to new controls from Instagram.
NANPA makes use of new controls from Instagram on its account, @NANPApix.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

You may recall that, back in the spring of 2020, a furor arose over a court decision that essentially said online publishers could embed a photographer’s Instagram post in their online story without obtaining permission or paying for the use. At that time, Instagram’s Terms of Use (ToU) allowed it. Recently, under pressure from photographers, creative professionals, artists, and organizations like NANPA—together with other members of the Copyright Alliance and the Coalition of Visual Artists—Instagram changed its ToU to state that it does not automatically give users a license to embed third-party content.

Previously, court decisions in copyright cases involving Instagram posts were inconsistent, and the only way a photographer could expressly choose to prevent embeds was to make an account private, which defeats the whole purpose of a professional photographer’s Instagram account. Under continuing pressure from creatives, NANPA, and others, Instagram has given photographers new control over their accounts. This is big!

Instagram’s recent changes allow users to turn off the embed setting without taking their account private. By default the “Allow people to embed your posts or profile on other websites” setting is turned on. Turning it off (see instructions here) prevents third-party sites, like aggregators or news sites, from embedding your Instagram posts in their story and does so without you having to take your account private. NANPA has disabled embedding on its Instagram account to help protect the photographers whose work is showcased in our daily features and takeovers.

Screenshot of Instagram settings- privacy and security. Here's where to turn off the default embed setting.
Here’s where to turn off the default embed setting.

NANPA advocates for photographers

NANPA advocates for the intellectual property rights of nature photographers. This plays out in advocacy for issues like this as well as other copyright concerns, such as the CASE Act, modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office, and more.

Over the past two years, quite a few copyright cases that directly affect photographers have come up in the courts. Some have been decided in the photographer’s favor while others have not. NANPA, through its membership and active participation in groups like the Copyright Alliance and Coalition of Visual Artists, makes sure the nature photographer’s voice is heard. In part for his efforts to protect the copyrights of photographers, NANPA Advocacy Committee member Sean Fitzgerald was given NANPA’s 2021 Mission Award.

Should you want more information and background on this matter, Fitzgerald first wrote about the Instagram embed issue here in April 2020. We explained the changes in Instagram’s ToU here. NANPA continued covering these issues with posts in August 2020, and September 2021.

Now, thanks to the tireless work of advocates, you can hop on over to Instagram, go into your profile settings, and decide for yourself if you want to disable embeds without having to make your account private.