Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram
December 25, 2012

Instagram Hit With First Civil Lawsuit Over New Terms Of Service

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A California Instagram user has filed a class action lawsuit against the company over recent changes in its Terms of Service, alleging breach of contract on behalf of herself and others similarly situated.

Lucy Funes, represented by San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk, filed a proposed class action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court on Friday, Reuters reported.

The move follows widespread public outrage last week over the photo sharing app's revised Terms of Service, protests that ultimately led Instagram to walk back some of the changes.

The new policies had triggered suspicions that the company would sell user photos without compensation. Instagram had also announced a mandatory arbitration clause that would force users to relinquish their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit except under rare circumstances.

Instagram´s current terms of service, which expire in a few weeks, contain no such liability protection.

Last week´s backlash prompted Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom to apologize and reinstate some of the Terms of Service related to displaying photos without compensation.

However, Instagram retained language giving it the ability to place ads with user content, noting that it “may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”

The company also retained the mandatory arbitration clause.

In her civil lawsuit, Funes notes that customers who do not agree with Instagram's terms can cancel their profile, but then forfeit rights to photos they had previously shared on the service.

"In short, Instagram declares that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law and if you don't like it, you can't stop us,'" the lawsuit reads.

Facebook acquired Instagram earlier this year for $715 million.

The civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Lucy Funes, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Instagram Inc., 12-cv-6482.