Diana by Mario

Above: A photo of Diana by Mario Testino. Credit: Mario Testino.

Post Copyright

"You must be at least 13 years old to use the Service. You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service [emphasis added]." These are the first two aspects of the Instagram (a Facebook-owned company) Terms of Use.

Although copyright infringement is banned under the Instagram Terms of Use, the fact remains that using without permission a copyrighted image (by publishing it to one's image-led micro-blogging account) is an infringement which occurs millions of times each day and is something that could never be controlled by Facebook Inc. in any serious way. The reality is that, the Internet age, the Web Age, is essentially post-copyright. You can copyright an image if you like, but to collect money for its use? Not possible. Take the tens-of-millions of Instagram users who infringed the copyright of (deceased) photographer Brian Duffy by posting Aladdin Sane on the day of Bowie's death. Did Brian's Estate get royalties? No. On Diana's birthday each year does Mario get royalties for the thousands of times his schmaltzy photo-portrait of her gets micro-blogged? Of course not. The photographer today has to get used to the idea that on the Web, and on social media, copyright is unenforceable, and so is not really a meaningful proposition. Copyrighted, sure. But how are you going to collect?

(2 April 2018)