The civil lawsuit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, by San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk and targets Facebook – as it were – because of their newly confirmed ownership of Instagram as a whole, accuses the firm of violating the property rights of its users and breaching its existing terms of service. It was filed initially on behalf of a single user but says there are “tens of thousands of members” in the state whose rights were violated by Instagram’s update.
The suit stems from a revision to Instagram’s terms of service first announced on Monday of last week.
According to the civil lawsuit, “Plaintiff’s action is to safeguard valuable and important property, statutory, and legal rights, through injunctive, declaratory and equitable relief issued by this Court before such claims are forever barred by adoption of Instagram’s New Terms,” the filing said.
In addition, California-based Instagram user Lucy Funes blamed the company of breach of contract and other misdeeds in a proposed class-action suit filed in San Francisco on Friday.
“Instagram’s unwarranted change of Terms accordingly violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing inherent in Instagram’s current Terms,” the suit said. Funes wants a jury trial and recompense for the alleged breach of service terms.
Instagram Mobile Photo Pages
More importantly, the new terms appeared to empower Instagram the right to sell ads using a person’s name or photos published using the service, among other things.
“We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously,” wrote Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes in an email.
The posting of the rule changes came well before the actual change-over which will be occurring in January for the whole entire universe. In fact, the proposed changes, due to take effect on Jan. 16, caused an immediate backlash against the Facebook-owned photo sharing service, with some users declaring they would close their accounts. Instagram backed off a few days later on Thursday, apologizing and saying it would go back to its original terms of service in regard to ads.
Riled users were pelting remarks saying, “Instagram is taking its customers property rights while insulating itself from all liability. … The purported concessions by Instagram in its press release and final version of the new terms were nothing more than a public relations campaign to address public discontent.”
But expounding on the controversial issue, the company chief said, “Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we would like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram,” CEO Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post last week. “Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing.”
Still, Funes said she is fighting for all Instagram users by suing the service. “For this reason, even though the New Terms are not yet effective, this case is ‘ripe’ for adjudication.”
The full complaint can be found in a Scribd posting below: Instagram class action lawsuit