1. Introduction

In the modern digital world, 'the Internet is teeming with personal websites and social media posts'1 . Social media, in particular, allowed the connection of millions of Internet users in a means that was not possible before. Nowadays, more and more people around the world are using the Internet and staying connected through social networking2 . Consequently, a greater number of photos and peoples' stories are published over social media sites every second3 . Due to this extraordinary quantity of posting photos on social media websites4 , a huge number of copyrightable photos are indeed available and accessible for illegal copying by other users5 . One of the most famous social media platforms of the 21st century is Instagram which home more than forty billion photographs6 . Instagram was generated in October of 20107 and since then, Instagram users are able to share photos and videos but they are not able to create a complete online profile with their personal details, such as on Facebook, or writing brief bursts of texts, such as on Twitter8 . Usually, these photos are accompanied by small comments which describe the images, even though these text commentaries are optional9 . Before posting a photo, Instagram users can edit the image by choosing a filter to alter its look and by tagging other individuals in order to specify their presence in the picture10. Tags enable a user to visit the profile of the tagged person by just clicking on the tag11. Moreover, Instagram users can follow other people's profiles and then, by becoming followers, they can like and make comment on other peoples' posts12. As of December 2017, the overall number of monthly active Instagram users was calculated about 800 million, with 95 million photos uploaded every day (this constitutes an increase from the 70 million of the previous year)13. Namely, Instagram is a ubiquitous platform of sharing photographs and videos with others but undoubtedly, this excessive accessibility creates legal issues in the area of copyright law.

This essay explains the applicable copyright law for posting pictures on Instagram. It starts by giving a brief overview of how copyright law generally operates on a global scale and then it focuses on analysing the copyright law that apply to social media under the jurisdictions of the European Union (EU) and the Unites States (US). The particular legal systems have been chosen for comparison as they make a good contrast: Instagram is based on US law and the EU law applies over the domestic laws of the European member states. Subsequently, the essay explains the basic of Instagram the relevant to copyrights terms of use. It then explains how Instagram conforms with copyright law and at the end, the essay concludes by analysing some possible factors that may result in copyright infringement on Instagram.

2. Copyright law on Instagram Photos (the International Treaties, the US and the UK)

2.1. Copyright on a global scale through international treaties

Even though there are no international provisions for the copyright protection, there are some global treaties which have formed agreements regarding the protection of international copyright14. Over the previous century, the Berne Convention, the Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and the Universal Copyright Convention have been established and have been seen as fundamentally important in determining global treatment of copyright issues15. The Berne Convention was introduced in 1886 but it was not incorporated into the US until 198916. The


1 Elizabeth J. Tao, 'A Picture's Worth: The Future of Copyright Protection of User-Generated Images on Social Media' (2017) 24 Ind.J.GlobalLegalStud. 617

2 Ibid

3 Ibid

4 'Our Story' (Instagram Press, 2018) http://instagram.com/press accessed 22 March 2018

5 Ibid (n 1) 618

6 Ibid 624

7 Geoff Desreumaux, 'The Complete History of Instagram' (WERSM, 3 January 2014), http://wersm.com/the-complete-history-of-instagram https://perma.cc/XFB8-NY4L accessed 23 March 2018">

8 Lauren Myers, 'A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Material-Connection Disclosures: Endorsers, Instagram, and the Federal Trade Commission's Endorsement Guides' (2017) 66 DukeLJ 1371, 1376

9 Stephanie Buck, 'The Beginner's Guide to Instagram' (MASHABLE, 29 May 2012) http://mashable.com/2012/05/29/instagram-for-beginners/#1NGgV6XL28qJ accessed 23 March 2018

10 Ibid

11 Ibid (n 9)

12 Ibid

13 Salman Aslam, 'Instagram by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts' (OMNICORE, 1 January 2018) https://www.omnicoreagency.com/instagram-statistics accessed 19 March 2018

14 Ibid (n 8) 570

15 Neil Weinstock Netanel, 'Asserting Copyright's Democratic Principles in the Global Arena' (1998) 51 VAND.L.Rev. 217, 279-80

16 'Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works' (WORLD INTELL. PROP. ORG., 1886) http1/www.wipo.intltreaties/en/ip/berne/summary-berne.html 23 March 2018

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