Embedding an Instagram post on a website doesn't automatically comply with copyright, an Instagram spokesperson writes in an email to Ars Technica . Websites require permission from the photographer before they can post an Instagram post on the website.
Instagram's statement follows two lawsuits filed by photographers against media sharing platforms. A photographer had sued Newsweek for copyright infringement. Newsweek had an Instagram photo embedded on the website without the photographer's permission.
Newsweek replied that it did not require the photographer's permission to post the photo because it could indirectly gain rights via Instagram, through what is known as a sub-license. The medium referred to Instagram's terms of service. But earlier this week, a judge in New York ruled that Newsweek could not dismiss a photographer's complaint based on these terms of service.
Statements are diametrically opposed
This is at odds with a previous judgment of a judge. In April, a judge ruled in favor of the Mashable website, which was sued by a photographer for embedding his photo. The judge then determined that Instagram could sublicense photos to sites that embed the posts.
Now Instagram clarifies the policy in favor of the photographers. Instagram's policy "requires third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders," said a company spokesperson. "This means, among other things, that they need a license to share content."
Instagram also told Ars Technica that the platform is looking into more ways for users to keep embedding their posts in their own hands. Now photographers can only prevent embedding their photos by making their posts private, which greatly limits their reach on the platform.