Can I Copyright My Instagram Pictures?

YES, YOU CAN!!!! Instagram is a social camera app that helps you take photos, videos in the app and post on your page for the world to see. This is pretty similar to Facebook and Twitter; you can also say it’s the combination of both with one simple update. Instagram operates not with words but with photos and this is where copyrights place a huge part. Instagram has been a huge profile for the creative side of people and the stretch of protecting is what everyone has a question about. We have had a question on this matter, so we are here to give all the information you need on copyrights on Instagram.

When someone takes a good creative photograph on Instagram, the image can be protected by copyright law. The photographer then has the exclusive right to use and sell the image and can enforce their copyright against anyone who infringes upon their rights. Users of the popular social media platform, Instagram are in a slightly different position than conventional photography copyrights protection.

When users upload an image on to the Instagram app, they do not forfeit their copyright. Instead, Instagram’s Terms of Use operate so as to give the social media platform a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free transferable, sub-license to use the content. This means that Instagram could license the images from the site to other sites including other Instagram users who can ‘program’ their images (repost photos) from accounts that they allegedly follow without infringing copyright. Hypothetically, Instagram’s Terms of Use enable the company to select images that users have posted on the site and sell them to a third-party marketing company. It’s unlikely, however, that the company would engage in such behavior as it would alienate users.

Fair Dealing and Instagram Images

It’s pretty important for the Instagram users to know that if any third party uses an image from their feed, the fair dealing principle may protect their use. The principle sets out a number of exceptions against using copyrighted material without securing the owner’s permission, namely:

  • Research or study
  • Criticism or review
  • Parody or satire
  • Reporting news
  • Professional legal advice.


In situations where an individual or a particular business source images from a third-party Instagram account and neither Instagram nor the user who posted the image has given them permission to do so, then copyright infringement will have been taken place. Social media users will be well within their rights to send a cease and desist letter and to ask for the appropriate compensation. If necessary, they will be able to pursue justice through the courts as well. This scenario acts as a cautionary tale for government bodies, businesses, and corporations looking to outsource images from third party social media pages. It also acts as a model for social media users on how best to enforce their rights.

Key Takeaways

When you upload an image on to Instagram, they will retain the copyright to the image. Instagram, however, does grant a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free transferable, sub-license to use the content uploaded to its platform, but are unlikely to license the posters’ image for their profits as doing so would put users offside. This means that Instagram can use the content as it chooses and can also license the content to any third party. Instagram users seeking to enforce their rights must also be aware of the fair dealing principle Instagram possesses. If any third parties make use of your images posted on your Instagram account without proper licensing from either you-the original poster or from Instagram itself, then users could possibly access a legal remedy and submit an infringement complaint.


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