Copyright laws are a serious thing and they are confusing, especially with the digital medium that we work with these days. For some, if you’re going to publicly share things on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, technically you should also expect it to be reused or reposted.
But others claim that since it is still technically your work, you should be able to control who uses it and where it is used. Unfortunately for publications or users that rely heavily on embedding Instagram posts on their websites, it looks like things are about to get messy because Instagram has claimed that they do not offer a sub-license to embedded posts.
In an email sent to Ars Technica it says, “While our terms allow us to grant a sub-license, we do not grant one for our embeds API. Our platform policies require third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders. This includes ensuring they have a license to share this content, if a license is required by law.”
This means that moving forward if you want to embed an Instagram post on your website, you will need to obtain permission from the original poster otherwise you could find yourself at the end of a copyright lawsuit.
Newsweek was even recently sued by photographer Elliot McGucken where they embedded a photo of his in their post, but were later sued for copyright infringement. The publication claims that Instagram’s sublicense extends to embedding technology, which the statement above now seems to deny.