'Instagram, you were my favourite app and you stabbed me in the back'
Plus: 'The rules are inconvenient, don't make sense and lack a scientific basis'
Quotw This was the week when Instagram made the corporate faux pas of the holiday season when it told all of its hipster users that their photos didn't belong to them, the people who'd shot the images, but to Instagram, which had provided the "quirky filters" and host servers, and now wished to use the snaps any way it liked.
It seemed like the nostalgic photo-sharing firm was trying to slip the massive change to its Ts&Cs under the wire when it introduced the changes in a blog post, apologising for the fact that the docs were so "dry". But in the middle of them it dropped this bombshell:
Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.
Now that Facebook owns the beatnik picture app, it clearly has to throw out all of its previous principles and pay homage to the great capitalist principle of money, money and then some more money:
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.
But despite their cupcake-loving demeanour, Instagrammers weren't going to take this lying down, instead hitting Twitter to voice their intense displeasure and voting with their feet by closing their accounts in droves. Even celebrity Instagrammers were ticked off, with actor Jonah Hill tweeting:
Instagram, you were my favorite app and you stabbed me in the back. I feel like I married you and you just slept with my best friend.
Faced with such a deluge of unpopular opinion, Instagram did the only thing it could do without actually admitting any fault, it backpedalled. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom issued a statement saying the whole thing wasn't like what people were making it out to be, honest, it's all just such a horrible misunderstanding:
Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.
Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns...
Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed.
We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.
In other hacked-off user news, Microsoft PC owners were pretty surprised when they found that a security update had managed to take out some of their fonts. Not too big a deal for your regular at home user, but quite a huge f***-up for say, designers.
A commenter on design blog GraphicsUnleashed explained the damage it was causing their business:
CorelDraw is screwed, Quark is screwed, WE ARE SCREWED. We have client jobs that we cannot work on thanks to this update.
Meanwhile, former HP-helmer Leo Apotheker decided to weigh in on this business about Autonomy not being worth the rather large sum of money HP had handed over for it during his reign. Instead of explaining his business reasoning or supporting either side, he was keen to make sure that any blame that might get handed out gets shared around equally:
No single CEO is ever able to make decision on a major acquisition in isolation, particularly at a company as large as HP - and certainly not without the full support of the chairman of the board.
The HP board, led by its chairman, met many times to review the acquisition and unanimously support the deal, as well as the underlying strategic objective to bolster HP's market presence in enterprise data.
He added that if he'd stayed in the top chair at HP, he'd have been able to get the "strategic vision" he had in mind for Autonomy going and help HP to get the "transformational strategy" it so sorely needs.
In the music industry, songwriters and composers are pushing the US Copyright Office for some changes on the mechanical licence they get, which means the composer cannot stop the distribution or performance of the work, but must hope for remuneration. They're even getting somewhere, with the office inviting responses on proposed changes, after receiving a rather pointed missive from American singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked. She wrote:
I work in a candle factory. I scrape flesh from skins of carcasses and process rendered fat into lumpy bars with wicks. I used to be a poet. I would write, late into the night, by candlelight.
ARTISTS MAKE LOUSY SLAVES!!! NEVER PISS OFF A SONGWRITER!!! PLUTOCRACY DEVOURS ITS OWN CHILDREN!!
Like growers in Columbia, we see the price of our 'beans' being manipulated and devalued for the commodities market and we understand the consequence of not being able to make a living wage from our work. Beck released his new album as sheet music. I will boycott this system of exploitation and my work will be only available through underground means.
Just because the week wouldn't be complete without some patent news, the judge in the Apple v Samsung case, won by the fruity firm to the tune of $1bn earlier this year, has thrown out both Sammy's attempts to claim jury misconduct and Apple's arguments for a permanent ban on certain Samsung products.
Judge Lucy Koh said very plainly that Apple had licensed its patents to others before and besides which, no one was deciding not to buy the iPhone because Samsung mobes had some of the same features:
The fact that Apple may have lost customers and downstream sales to Samsung is not enough to justify an injunction.
[That] Apple must have lost these sales because Samsung infringed Apple’s patents... Apple has simply not been able to make this showing.
She was equally harsh on Samsung's claims that jury foreman Velvin Hogan had failed to reveal that he had been on the receiving end of some patent litigation and therefore could be biased. She said that Samsung had all the time in the world to find out these things before the trial started when its legal beaks were sorting through jurors:
What changed between Samsung’s initial decision not to pursue questioning or investigation of Mr Hogan, and Samsung’s later decision to investigate was simple: the jury found against Samsung, and made a very large damages award. This is precisely the situation that courts have consistently found constitutes a waiver of the juror misconduct claim.
For all Reg readers planning on flying home for the holidays this weekend, the hope that one day slabs could be fondled and Angry Birds played on smartphones while onboard an aeroplane is very much alive. US Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat for Missouri, has told the FAA that it needs to rethink its rules on technology on aircraft:
We live in an increasingly connected world, and information is traveling at the speed it takes our email to refresh.
The current rules are inconvenient to travelers, don't make sense, and lack a scientific basis. Airline employees have the incredibly important job of keeping us safe in the air – their efforts are better spent worrying about rules that actually accomplish that goal.
And finally, indoctrinate your kids now into whether they'll be Googlers or Microsofties, by loading up the Santa Tracker of your choice.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) has tracked St Nick across the globe since the heartwarming tale of Colonel Harry Shoup, who in 1955 started receiving a lot of wrong numbers at the NORAD hotline. As it turned out, Sears had run an ad telling children to call Santa Claus, but misprinted the number.
The kindly colonel eventually realised what was happening and started tracking the lead elf around the globe and letting the kids know where he was.
In modern times, the Santa Tracker has moved online and for the last five years has been shown on Google Maps in a partnership with NORAD. However, when the internet giant's contract was up this year, NORAD went over to Bing Maps and Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.
The spirit of Christmas seems to be sadly lacking over at Mountain View, as Google has released its own competing Santa Tracker that will only be available to Android kiddies. NORAD and MS have set up apps for iOS, Android and Windows phone. Clearly Googlers haven't realised it's not too late for their names to end up on the Naughty list...
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! ®