The question is pretty easy and fit in the title.

So: can I use instagram pictures for an academic work?

I think I have to ask people who posted them if they agree but I'm not sure. I don't want any trouble with plagiarism and copyright.

  • I once did a team project, and I had blogged about each miniscule thing through it. That's a habit. One member in the team was asked to prepare the report and he printed, compiled and submitted by blog posts. It was a school thing, so it was accepted without much hassle.
    – Cheeku
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


In a a word no, users of Instagram retain copyright of their own images, and grant Instagram a licence to reproduce them on Instagram's website. No licence is granted to other users of the website, so you would need to approach each user individually to gain permission, unless your usage comes under a fair-use right. This differs between countries, so it depends on where the user is located that posted the image, and where you are located as to what rights you may have under this. These fair-use rights are very restricted, and have no relationship to academic work in particular.

  • 1
    I am not an IP lawyer, but at least in the US, my understanding is that 'for educational purposes' is one of the primary fair-use arguments.
    – DA.
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 20:52
  • It's in France. Their is an article on the law for that. I obteined it on the fair use French page on wikipedia. Thank you for your help. So if you cite name and sources you have the right to use it without asking to anyone Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 6:55
  • I had a look at the French fair-use page, the translation is not entirely clear, but it does not appear to be a blanket fair-use for academic purposes, so it depends on why you are using it. If you are doing this as part of a student project it may fall under the "educational clause", but I would also consider ethical (as separate from legal) implications of doing this as part of your report. Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 14:53

Contra Chris Thompson, I'd say, in a word, 'maybe'. E.g., in the US, if the purpose of the work is to criticize or critique the picture, then you probably have a fair-use right to reproduce the image in your academic work. Whether or not the journal or conference you intend to publish in will accept your paper without an explicit license is another story.

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