Instawhoops

WIRED relates that Instagram has decided to remove a controversial piece of their new terms of service (TOS) announced yesterday:

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.

You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

This did not sit well with, well, anyone. The internet went nuts as users and the media railed against the new ad-centric, privacy-crushing policy. Some went so far as to delete their accounts and move to other photo-sharing services. Instagram reacted Tuesday afternoon with a blog post clarifying its position and promising to amend the offending section of the TOS.

“It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation,” company co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in the post. “This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing.”

Yeah. You can read on to see what Instagram “meant” to say and also see what the NYT adds. Definitely check out Forbes’ take on Flickr reaping rewards from the snafu.

I use Instagram (yes, those are my photos) and post all of my photos on Flickr with a Creative Commons license, so I’m probably more comfortable than most with my photos being used for purposes other that being my photos. I can’t help but believe that Facebook (who owns Instagram) was testing the waters to see what’s possible without risking their core brand.

I would be shocked if Facebook didn’t come out with similar policies in the years to come. I don’t know what I’d do, but I certainly agree with Peter Shankman’s advice about posting things to social media sites.

Standing on the shore

One of the peculiar & cool features of WordPress blogs is that they are strewn across the vast shore of blogs that is WordPress.com.

WordPress uses categories and/or tags to taxonomically link between posts that have similar content. The common tags like art or news or photography have become fairly polished online magazines. Less used tags like wine or Michigan are more like little eddies around which similar content flows.

In either case, it means that people you’ve never met drop by to read things, and you have a chance to do the same. Here’s something I found from Aaron Leaman titled Documented Elements that I liked.

Graveyard Shift

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanAs you may be aware, Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer. In addition to the fact that he can spin a tale like nobody I know, he also seems to be testing the bounds of the process of storytelling with his unabashed use of blogs, video and other web tech. On his wondrously weird website Mouse Circus, he is posting videos of his 9-city video tour (Oct 1-9). At each stop, he reads one chapter from his new work The Graveyard Book.

Check out Neil reading of The Graveyard Book. If you haven’t read one of his books, might I recommend fixing that with this.

The photo is Untitled by Jenny Murray, who says that while it wouldn’t normally occur to her, she thinks that this photo should be viewed on black. She’s a serial violater of Rule #6, so watch your step.

Dive into her Flickriver because she’s one of the best. Word.

Political/Remix

The ties that bind:

  1. Google for “google calendar palm pilot“.
  2. See that the writer is a Michigan resident.
  3. Find “Iraq Withdrawal Date: 12,800” (by Election08 and the Public Service Administration) in one of his posts where he wrote:

Lessig points out, this isthe beauty of political remix

Last week I read A feature in Wired that after some who-said-what video about McCain staff apparently violating 527 group rules explained that:

The video footage came courtesy of the Democratic National Committee, which late last year launched a project called FlipperTV. The project collects amateur video footage from campaign events as they unfold and makes it available to everyone on the internet to browse through and to edit for themselves.

The idea, according to the DNC at the time, was to “allow activists and voters to download video to their computers, edit it to create new user-generated video, and judge the candidates’ flip-flips and exaggerations for themselves.”

…David All, a Republican Web 2.0 media and communications consultant in Washington, DC, says that he first blogged about the idea of crowdsourcing online video footage long before the DNC launched its FlipperTV project …”It’s a common-sense crowdsourcing idea,” All said of the FlipperTV project. “It’s simple stuff you’d do on a modern campaign to contrast a candidate’s positions.”

How cool! Both major political parties working to create viral propaganda machines and even working with groups that exist solely to support or attack candidates. It’s like war, only on TV and the internet.

The 2008 elections are going to be something to watch, that’s for sure.