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Stuff You Can Use: Share Your Instagram Photos With a Creative Commons License

Flickr,” as the IamCC Manifesto states, “has something like 200,000,000+ images licensed under Creative Commons,” making it one of the largest open-rights image databases in the world. Instagram's licensing agreement, however, isn't nearly as open-ended.

As PhotoShelter Chairman and co-founder Allen Murabayashi recently noted on Wired, Instagram’s licensing amounts to “a rights grab…as a condition for participation.” In order to use the service, you must agree to let Instagram use your work as they see fit, while severely limiting everyone else’s access to it. And if you’re trying to openly share or get your work noticed, you probably don’t want that kind of restriction on it. So what’s a supporter of free culture to do?

This dilemma is what led Localwiki founder Phillip Neustrom to create IamCC, a simple, two-step Creative Commons licensing portal. Here’s the deal:

  • Determine which type of Creative Commons license you’d like to give your photos by using the handy feature selector on’s license selection page.
  • Head back to IamCC and click the “Join Them” button on the front page. Then simply follow the steps after logging into your Instagram account.

IamCC allows you to add any one of seven different 3-month Creative Commons licenses to your Instagram uploads (all with varying degrees of “openness”), without invalidating the Instagram’s Terms of Use. By using an IamCC license, your photos can be shared and utilized by anyone, and will—if you enable it in your license—be showcased on the IamCC front page along with your Instagram account name.

Obviously, if you’re posting anything you’d want kept private, this isn’t for you. But if you’re a budding photographer looking to get your name out there, or simply want to make your Instagram images free and available online, IamCC is a great option, with a great misson.

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