When a photo gallery or photo sharing website holds your digital photos hostage and demands payment to avoid the total destruction of your photos that were uploaded to the site based on the promise of “free” service, consumers like you can get stuck. When you clicked on “Accept” on the Terms and Services (TOS) during sign-up process, you might not have read it thoroughly and you perhaps missed the fine prints in the TOS allowing them to change the TOS whenever they want.

That’s what happened to a user of Kodak Gallery. The customer found out that she now has to spend at least $4.99 a year  on prints or other products to keep her photos on Kodak Gallery from being deleted. It certainly sucks standing in the consumer’s shoes. However the business has the goal of making money.  Kodak simply wants to focus on its best customers, not folks who merely want to take advantage of free picture storage. And its new rules are hardly unusual in the online photo business.

Even if you pay for the service from beginning, it is still not certain you will have access to the original photos without paying extra. Some sites are charging extra to download original high resolution photos. Some sites may suddenly go out of business and take all of your photos with it. Especially for those sites are offering unlimited free storage and sharing but doesn’t seem to have any valid business model to generate revenue.

What’s the virtue of the story? Keep a safe backup of your own photos yourself.

Posted in: Legal issues, Miscellaneous on March 28th, 2009. Trackback URI
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