Instagram sued over new terms of service

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Instagram has been hit with a class-action lawsuit following its decision to change its terms of service.

Earlier this month, the Facebook-owned photo sharing company caused an outcry when it appeared to award itself rights over all the photos posted by its users - along with the right to sell them to third parties.

It's backtracked - to a certain degree - since then.

However, this isn't enough for Lucy Funes of San Diego. In a lawsuit filed with the San Francisco District Court, Instagram is accused of making a "grab for customer property rights."

"The New Terms transfer valuable property rights to Instagram while simultaneously relieving Instagram from any liability for commercially exploiting customers' photographs and artistic content, while shielding Instagram from legal liability," the suit reads.

It points out that, while users can quit Instagram if they don't like the new terms, they then can't retrieve their pictures, which remain Instagram's property.

"Upon canceling, customers forfeit all right to retrieve the Property that was previously entrusted to Instagram, which retains rights thereto in perpetuity," reads the lawsuit. "In short, Instagram declares that 'posession is nine-tenths of the law, and if you don't like it, you can't stop us'."

The lawsuit - which could involve tens of thousands of users - calls for the company to be prohibited from making the proposed changes, which are due to come in next month. Already, many users have fled the site, meaning that there may be no shortage of complainants.