Stop Large Companies From Stealing Images on Instagram

Target: Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram

Goal: Do not allow big companies on Instagram to censor and delete the crediting of photos.

Although it is not unusual for Instagram photos to be re-posted or shared without express permission from the original poster, it can be extremely damaging when large companies essentially steal artists’ and photographers’ work and actively prevent them from being credited. It is basically free marketing for the companies, while the artists are completely uncompensated for their work. Companies even have the ability to automatically censor comments, ensuring that no credit is given to those who really did the work.

Photographer James Jollay and the model in his photo created their concept together and posted the picture to Instagram. Most of the accounts that subsequently shared the photo did credit Jollay and the model. However, international company Marie Claire took the time to remove those credits when they reposted the photo from one of those accounts. Then, when Jollay posted a harmless comment crediting himself and the model, it was automatically blocked. When Jollay posted the same comment to a friend’s account to see whether it would be blocked there too, it was not. This implies that large companies are given the ability to automatically filter and censor comments even if they are not offensive or threatening.

Photographers like James Jollay are professionals who, like all other workers, deserve to be fairly compensated for their skills and efforts. Failing to credit artists for their work is essentially stealing and is incredibly detrimental to artists whose work is their livelihood. Demand that Instagram stop encouraging stealing and giving benefits to big companies at everyone else’s expense.


Dear Mr. Systrom,

It is unacceptable that Instagram enables large companies to essentially steal work from other accounts to use for marketing purposes. In the case of photographer James Jollay, the account of international company Marie Claire not only took the time to remove his credit from a reposted photo but actively blocked his comment that gave credit where credit was due.

Artists like Jollay deserve just compensation for their hard work, which they rely on as their livelihoods. Their work should not be allowed to be taken without credit while their comments on it are censored by large companies gunning for free marketing. I urge you not to give these companies such leeway to harm the rest of the Instagram community.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jason Howie

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  1. Instagram users need copyright for anything they post to protect them from such plagiarism.

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    protect them from theft!

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