Instagram Starts Going After Apps That Use ‘Insta’ Or ‘Gram’

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If you use Luxogram, or Webstagram, or any other Instagram compatible app, prepare yourself for the possibility of some change. Instagram has started approaching app developers and services, telling them that if they have “Insta-” or “-gram” in their names that they can expect to have their access to the Instagram stream cut off.

This is a flip flop from Instagram’s earlier position. In previous versions of Instagram’s developer guidelines, Instagram actually encouraged developers to use parts of their name as a prefix or suffix. If you saw an app with “Insta-” or “-gram” in the title, you knew it had Instagram compatibility. A smart branding choice.

That’s no longer the case, though. Instagram is now sending out the following notice to developers:

Instagram developers may fairly and accurately indicate that their applications are compatible with Instagram, but may not use the Instagram trademarks in their own brand, or suggest that Instagram sponsors or endorses their product.

This affects a lot of apps. In particular, the developer of Luxogram was warned to make changes “within a reasonable period of time.” The developer says that he’s actually more likely to shut the service down than comply, which is a pity, but a lot of apps and developers might be in the same boat.

One thing to note here, however, is this only applies to developers or services using Instagram’s API. Other apps, like Instaweather, are safe for now.

  • ctt1wbw

    Yeah, because Facebook now owns the words “insta” and “gram”. Just typing the words “face” or “book” or “insta” or “gram” is a copyright and/or trademark violation.

  • mackozer

    Instaweather or Instaplace apps are OK. I have contacted developer (Byss mobile) and they said Instagram only force apps that use their API. Instaweather and Instaplace, they don’t so they are free to go. At least for now.

  • saddington

    Lots of people are getting confused and the wording could be a bit better, but this applies to any app that’s making a technical bridge between their app and Instagram’s (via API). All the rest appear to be safe.

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi

    Yes, it is Facebook asserting their douchiness.

  • jeffbriant

    andddddd THERE’s facebook.

  • HerbalEd

    I seriously doubt they can enforce this. Can you imagine Microsoft doing the same with “micro” and “soft”?

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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