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Instagram lawyers do insane tricks to divert copyright claims to third parties

Instagram does not grant users who embed an Instagram photo on their own website a license to post that photo. It is as strange as it sounds, but it is exactly what the official position of the Facebook/Instagram lawyers is.

Instagram management said to Ars Technica, after a US judge on Monday did not want to pronounce in a case that a photographer had filed against the site Newsweek. The site had an Instagram photo of Elliot McGucken embedded on their website.

According to McGucken, this is a copyright violation: the photographer had not given permission to place the photo. Newsweek states that the right to embed is included in Instagram’s terms.

The case seemed clear: In April, another American photographer lost a very similar case, with the Mashable site inserting a photo without permission. However, according to the judge in the new case, the conditions of Instagram are not clear.

Instagram now tells Ars Technica that whoever posts photos is responsible for obtaining the photographer’s permission. “Our terms are a sublicense for us, but that license does not apply to embedding,” Instagram said. “Our terms require third parties to obtain the necessary rights from relevant rights holders.”

Instagram’s statement appears to be at odds with the April case, with the photographer losing. The ruling in the current case will follow shortly.

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