Emmanuel Lubezki Calls on Instagram to Protect Artists’ Images From Being Shared

Artists on Instagram are urging the social media giant to allow them to decide whether or not their images can be embedded.
This photo provided by courtesy of  Twentieth Century Fox shows, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki on set for the film, "The Revenant," directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. No name is more feverishly celebrated in Hollywood right now than "Chivo." That's the nickname of the famed cinematographer Lubezki, whose acrobatic long-takes and luminous natural images of natural light have made him revered -- and may make him a three-peat Oscar winner for "Gravity," ''Birdman" and now "The Revenant." The Oscars will be presented on Feb. 28, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)
Emmanuel Lubezki on location shooting "The Revenant"
Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox

Emmanuel Lubezki is calling on Instagram to do right by photographers and protect their images from being embedded in editorial posts against their wishes. The three-time Oscar winning cinematographer shared a message on his personal Instagram page supporting photographers in their fight against the social media giant. The post reads: “I have changed my Instagram settings to ‘private account’ in order to prevent embedding after a ruling in the Sinclair v. Ziff Davis case. NPPA, ASMP, PPA, GAG, APA, and NANPA are asking Instagram to add settings to allow photographers and artists the option to restrict embedding in public profiles.”

A decision in the Sinclair v. Ziff Davis case came down last week and ruled against photographers looking to protect their images on their public social media pages. Photographer Stephanie Sinclair sued Mashable parent company Ziff Davis over a 2016 Mashable post highlighting female photographers. Mashable could not license one of Sinclair’s photos, so it instead went to Sinclair’s public Instagram page and embedded one of her image posts in its article. Sinclair argued this was copyright infringement.

The court ruling states that Sinclair offered a “valid sublicense” for Mashable to use the image when she published it on her public Instagram page (via The Verge). All photos on public profiles are embeddable. Judge Kimba Wood noted, “The user who initially uploaded the content has already granted Instagram the authority to sublicense the use of ‘public’ content to users who share it.”

The Sinclair v. Ziff Davis case ruling has mobilized artists on Instagram, including Lubezki, to urge the social media giant to add a new feature to the platform that gives photographers and others the right to choose whether or not a post on a public account can be embedded. If Instagram allowed users to manually decide if their posts can be embedded or not, photographers and artists would then be able keep their accounts public so their work can be openly showcased while preventing their images from being used in editorial posts without their consent.

Lubezki uses Instagram regularly to showcase his own photography as well as post behind-the-scenes photographs from his productions. During the making of “The Revenant,” Lubezki’s Instagram account showcased dozens of set photos and images showing off the filming locations. The cinematographer’s last theatrical release was the 2017 Terrence Malick drama “Song to Song.” Next up for Lubezki is David O. Russell’s new film, starring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and Michael B. Jordan. IndieWire has reached out to Instagram for further comment.

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