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Terms and Conditions: Photo-sharing site Imgur says it all in under 1000 words

terms and conditions imgurWhat are you really agreeing to when you click that fateful “agree button? Terms & Conditions cuts out the legal lingo to spell it out in plain English.

First launched by Ohio University student Alan Schaaf in 2009, Imgur has become the de-facto picture hosting site for Reddit (and thus, tens of millions of Reddit users). And for good reason: It’s simple, easy to use, and makes sharing links a breeze. Due to Facebook’s nasty habit of swiping users’ photos for its own purposes, I’ve come to use Imgur as my go-to online photo storage bin. And so have many others — more than 55 million photos have been uploaded to Imgur over the past 30 days — a popularity that could increase thanks to a recent, social-centric update. Given Imgur’s booming popularity, it’s high time we put the photo-sharing site under some good ol’ T&C scrutiny. Here, a quick rundown of Imgur’s terms of service and privacy policy.

Terms of Service

Because Imgur was made by a real Internet user (as opposed to some disconnected corporation), the terms of service are thankfully summed up at the beginning of the document, colored by language like, “Don’t be a troll or a jerk.” Summing up terms in this way is wise, and I hope to see more companies following suit.

That said, it is extremely doubtful that many Imgur users have ever clicked on the tiny “terms” link at the bottom of every Imgur page. So here’s the rest of what you need to know.

What you can’t do

Just like every other service we’ve covered here at T&C, Imgur forbids users to do a number of things. They are:

  • No images of gore
  • No “hate speech” (racism, homophobia, etc)
  • No defamation
  • No linking to file-sharing or torrenting sites
  • No uploading copyrighted works you don’t own.

If you do any of these things, or use Imgur to break the law in some other way, Imgur “will ban you along with the site you’re hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com.”

Copyright shmopyright

All that talk of “no copyrighted images” sounds good. But of course, it’s mostly just there for show — Imgur is packed full of copyrighted images that were almost certainly not uploaded by whomever owns the intellectual property rights.

That said, a good number of the most popular images uploaded to the site come directly from users. Which is why it’s important to note that, by making an image publicly viewable on Imgur (you can set images and galleries to private if you wish), you are giving Imgur the right to do almost whatever it likes with that image. If you delete the image, or make it private, then Imgur immediately loses its rights to your image.

Losing your pics

Make sure to keep a backup of any photos you upload to Imgur — the company is not responsible, and cannot be held liable, if your pictures are somehow deleted from the company’s servers.

Privacy Policy

Anytime you visit Imgur, the site’s servers collect various data about your computer. This includes:

  • IP address 
  • Device characteristics
  • Operating system 
  • Browser type 
  • Type of connection
  • Page and image viewing statistics
  • Incoming and outgoing links

All of this data is with any comment you leave on a Imgur-hosted photo.

Furthermore, like most other websites, Imgur makes money through advertising. And that means your activities on Imgur are, by default, being tracked by cookies, Web beacons, and other forms of traffic monitoring. This means some vague personal information is transferred to third-party advertisers. To block these cookies, Imgur recommends installing a tracker blocker plugin like PrivacyFix.

And that’s pretty much it. Compared to most other Web legal documents, Imgur’s terms and privacy policy are short, sweet, and without a lick of double-speak purposefully included to confuse users. Well done, Imgur. Well done.