People and businesses post thousands of pictures everyday. And, probably you do too. But are you sure you’re posting in the right way?

Instagram and tourism have proven to be an item. The 57 million posts with the hashtag #instatravel bear witness to this. Technology has deeply changed the experience of travelling, which, nowadays, is shared in its every phase via social media.

People post the preparation for the journey, the “real-time” experience is broadcasted through live-streams and stories, selfies and images, as well as memory-posts of the trip afterwards. Instagram is the social media channel in which images act as master, so this is what we have to focus on in order to evaluate the legal aspects related to posts.

How to legally post a photo on Instagram?

Firstly, you should start by looking at what users often ignore. That is, the terms use of the social network you’re using.

Instagram, in particular, has a clause in its conditions in which the user declares he/she is, on the one hand, owner of the contents posted, but on the other, agrees to not violate the rights of third persons, including their right to privacy, together with authors’ rights and intellectual property (art. 4 of the rights section).

In essence, from the moment users accept the terms and uses the social network, they also declare that they are the holders of all content they post and to not violate rights of others.

So, in using the platform, how do you translate this forecast?

You have to be very careful when posting images, because not everything is freely publishable.


What images can you post?

We must firstly make a distinction between the person who took the photo and the content in that very photo, namely who is subject to the photograph.

So, let’s see how to legally post a photo on Instagram in practice.

To start off, you must possess all the rights to the image you want to post or must, alternatively, have the explicit permission of the holder of these rights.

This means the photo was personally taken and that the person who took it has given over the rights, or that the holder of the rights has authorized a specific post.

People sometimes don’t know that you can’t just take a picture and post it. It’s actually unlegal and unfair!     twitter_greenTweet

Think, for instance, about a case in which images are posted by a photographic service, and taken by a professional photographer.

If for various kinds of reasons, the contract foresees that the rights remain with the photographer who commissioned the service, the service can only utilize the images with the explicit permission of that same photographer.

Furthermore, be careful of what the photo portrays.

In fact, the act of personally taking the photo doesn’t automatically concede the right to use it.

In the case of a portrait, for example, the photographer must receive permission by the subject of the photo. Without that, the post is illegal.


Rights over images on Instagram

The image of a subject can solely be posted with the permission of that very person. In the case of minor, the explicit permission of both parents (or guardians) is necessary.

This means that if you post a photo portraying a person, it’s crucial to have obtained authorization to do so, to avoid exposing yourself to paying compensation for damages.

No standard practice provides a particular form in which to express permission, so even oral consent is permitted.

It’s evident that if permission to post an image is given after quite some time, written permission is necessary, even via Whatsapp message, (unless, of course, the image has been specifically granted to the public).

As far as minors are concerned, it’s worth underlining a crucial aspect: the authorization of both parents is required, thus permission given by other figures, (eg. grandparents, aunties, brothers), is not considered valid.

#InstaTravel: sharing images on Instagram

Instagram, as a social network, is very particular in regards to sharing images of others.

In fact, the general rule is to set up special functions to make sure individual social networks don’t incur in violations of various kinds.

As an example, Facebook and LinkedIn have the share “button”, Twitter has the retweet-function.

Instagram doesn’t provide this option, so how to move forward? Is copy and pasting someone else’s image on your profile allowed?

No, copy and pasting is never allowed, even if the sharing-function isn’t present, like in the case of Instagram, for which it’s necessary to download a special app that allows reposts.

Nothing’s going to happen anyway, right?!

Wrong. If you violate those specific rules, you expose yourself to the consequences.

Let’s do an example.

#instatravel, like any hashtag, has the specific function of reuniting all images that used that particular hashtag.

If you were to notice an unauthorized use of your image within a piece of content, you have the right to not just ask for removal, but also to request a payment for the author’s rights related to the photo.

It’s evident that when promoting your touristic framework across social networks, all the aspects analyzed up to this point, aspects of a purely legal nature, must be supported by an effective content marketing strategy.  


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