Past Diary EntriesDilara's Diary

Belly Dancers: Your Image Is Everything and Instagram Will Cash In!

Before I focused on Belly Dance, I was an actress.  First, without an agent. Then I got an agent. Later I fired the lazy bum.


However, one of the biggest lessons I learned from the lazy bum during my days of casting calls and contracts was terminology like:  “perpetual right”  “right to license” “granted an irrevocable right to sell  or use the work in perpetuity.”


I knew that when I saw those words on the description of the job, it was time to TURN AND RUN!  It mattered not to me how much the print job may pay, once I was paid they owed me nothing more... Even if they sell my photos to another company... even if they want to run the commercial after the 13 week industry standard.


Why did this matter?  Because I no longer have control over my image... and while image isn’t everything... IT IS A LOT!!!!! 


As a belly dance artist this terminology is critical... and today Instagram (owned by Facebook) has ROCKED to social networking world... Belly Dancers Take Note:


Instagram said today (December 17, 2012) that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification.  


And furthermore:

Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.


Instagram, Belly Dance, Dilara Sultan, HipMix.netYep, after January 16th all your photos on Instagram become their property and are available for SALE!    I like’s article on the topic which includes this statement:

    “Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world's largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that "Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won't have to pay you anything to use your images."

Nice huh?


Can you imagine what this could mean to all of us in the belly dance world?  We work hard to preserve the art of Oriental Dance... quickly rallying together when the media or other “evil-doers” represent belly dance as anything less than what it is ART. 


We cringe in unison when cliche words like “Gyrate” and “Exotic”  are used to describe a performance and when a journalist slips in references to human trafficking or masterbation --- well honey - that’s when the Power of the Belly Dance Nation is felt!


So, belly dance aside... this affects all of us--- As notes:

    “a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on -- without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which could trigger state privacy laws.”


Think about you and your own family.  What hypotheticals can you place on this new Terms of Service with Instagram?  Being a mom of a 15 year old daughter... there are a few that come to my mind.


Yes, we know to be careful on the internet... and the photos we upload can been seen (even downloaded by others) but to have a company take ownership and profit from your images... it ain’t right!


read all the ins and outs of their new policy changes in’s article here>>

It seems right to re-quote from the article, Reginald Braithwaite, an author and software developer, who shared his "translation" of the new Instagram policy today:

"You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk."

To that I can only add:  It's bullshit!