Photographer’s Lawsuit Against Mashable Given New Life After Instagram’s Embedding Policy Clarification


A photographer that launched a lawsuit against Mashable for embedding a photo from her Instagram that the publication had sought permission to use.

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Photo by Ready Made from Pexels.

Now Stephanie Sinclair is getting a new day in court and it might be thanks, in part, to Instagram’s clarification on the company's embedding policy and what that means in terms of granting rights.

The story is somewhat cut and dry from a copyright infringement standpoint. Mashable asked Sinclair if it could use her image of a Guatemalan mother and child that she posted on her Instagram account. PetaPixel reports that they offered her $50 for the image’s license. Sinclair refused but that didn’t stop Mashable from embedding the image and using it that way. Her original case was thrown out because the court ruled that Instagram’s embedding policy granted a sub-license to those who used it. Instagram said that actually isn’t the case and is now working on new rules and options around its embedding system. And, though Sinclair has a new day in court, that doesn’t mean she’s going to win her case.

National Press Photographers’ Association general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said of the ruling by the court, “NPPA is very pleased to read that the court reconsidered its decision in this important case. As the judge appropriately noted, Instagram’s Platform Policy terms are “insufficiently clear” and dismissal at this point in the case is not proper.

It is one thing for the terms of service to help users obtain a license to the work of others and quite another to grant users such rights even when the owner of the work has already refused to do so.

It will be interesting to see what is determined through the discovery stage of the case or whether the defendants choose to settle.”

What do you think of the photographer’s lawsuit against Mashable? And what do you think of Instagram’s clarification on its embedding policy? Let us know your thoughts on this article in the comments section below if you like.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news articles on Light Stalking by clicking this link right here.


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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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