Instagram: The Imitation Game

It’s a fine line. An act that can cut deep if poorly done. It can stir up a mixture of emotions; anger, frustration but also delight. And it’s a topic that recently has been the height of conversation amongst many Instagrammer/bloggers, including myself. Of course, I’m talking about the subject of image imitation and the blurry lines of ‘being inspired’ on Instagram. Where we get our inspiration, how we ensure we’re being transparent and how do we know when we’ve crossed the line? The rules around copyright on Instagram are vague and are predominately geared towards people sharing or using your images on their account without permission. They seem to ignore the other side of the problem – when people recreate your images and share them as their own without crediting appropriately. So, how do we determine what is right and wrong? Who has the right to decide if an image has been inspired by another or just out-and-out copied? What’s the difference? What is the Instagram etiquette – is there even such a thing? How do we go about appropriately crediting accounts we’ve been inspired by or is that an unnecessary act that’s gone too far? So many questions and I feel like I’m diving into murky waters here, but I’m going in any way.

This blog post has to be from my own personal opinions/experiences, there is no rulebook to go by as such, we’re just trying to navigate our way around the issue and grouping together to figure out what we believe to be the right course of action – all while keeping the community spirit alive and being a valuable team player. Phew! Who said Instagramming was easy? From what I’m seeing and hearing, there’s a cloud of anxiety beginning to loom over the app. We’ve become nervous about stepping on each other’s toes, and there’s a new heightened sensitivity around what we post. There’s a new reluctance to post images for fear of reprisal. And I’m hearing of people scrapping perfectly good photos that were taken days in advance and were waiting to be posted because someone pressed published on a similar image first. The act of crediting is becoming a guessing game, sometimes too much – I was once credited in an image that even I was unsure as to why – but then sometimes not enough. So, how do we find a happy medium?

Let’s start by being honest, the majority of images that we see on Instagram have been inspired by something or someone; an original idea is rare (even the ones that we believe are have most likely been subconsciously influenced by something we have seen months even years before). And with books such as

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