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Class-Action Lawsuit Goes After Instagram Terms of Service Changes 59

Posted by timothy
from the for-users-read-lawyers dept.
New submitter Alex Belits writes "Users of the Instagram image sharing service owned by Facebook filed a class action against Facebook for the recent change in Terms of Service." The changes that were supposed to take effect on January 16, 2013 declared for Facebook an unlimited right to use and license users' photos, added an arbitration requirement for legal disputes, and more. Guess the lawyers involved here weren't impressed enough by Facebook's hasty back-pedaling on this front; the company did explicitly disclaim ownership interest in the uploaded photos after a wave of complaints, but left in place certain other clauses in the new terms.
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Class-Action Lawsuit Goes After Instagram Terms of Service Changes

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  • by Mr. Tom Guycot (1298343) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:26AM (#42386979)
    It wasn't even back-pedaling, just word soup. They never claimed ownership, just a license to use them as they wished, and their later statement never went back on THAT.
  • They have no cause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aepervius (535155) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:34AM (#42387015)
    They can simply refuse the new term of service, and their photo will not be covered by the new TOS meaning instagram/FB won't be able to use them anyway. Naturally they lose usage of their photo but hey, so is life when you trust some random company with your stuff when you are obviously the "product" of that company. But i see no cause to sue the lawsuit will prolly be rejected at judge level.

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/instagram.png [xkcd.com]
  • by Holistic Missile (976980) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:40AM (#42387021)
    If you don't agree with the terms, don't use it. No one's forcing you to.

    I don't have, and never will have, a Facebook account due to privacy concerns (data mining, etc.), and concerns over use/abuse of users' writing/photos/whatever.

    Anyone can use your photos/whatever for whatever they want - the general consensus seems to be that if it's on the internet, it's free to use. ZDNet got called out on a photo lifted from another website in a recent article/blog entry in the comments to that article. The author/blogger's response was 'Oh, is that where that came from?' I don't agree in any way with big media's take on copyright, but at least give credit, or better yet, ask permission, for something you're using.

    If you don't want people using your photos, don't post them publicly on the internet. Try this: open a browser window to images.google.com, and drag a photo from another website onto the input field. Look at how many places it shows up! Try it with some of your Facebook photos - you may be surprised!
  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlieNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:54AM (#42387087) Homepage

    When Facebook uses the content we create for free it's bad, but when we use other people's content for free RIAA is bad!

    I know you're trying to make a point, but the situation isn't really comparable. For one, pirates do not claim ownership over the content, and secondly, pirates can't legally make money out of it whereas when a company imposes a ToS - change like this on its userbase they actually CAN then legally make money out of your content. That makes the whole premise of the situation quite different, with pirates mostly focusing on consuming the content themselves, and companies focusing on monetizing the content.

  • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:57AM (#42387105)

    Not a bad comparison, though there is a difference between sharing and selling. Namely, the exchange of money. If Facebook/Instagram said your photos would be copylefted, I don't think people would object as much. But profiting from other people's work is a little shadier than just giving it away.

  • Obligatory xkcd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ericloewe (2129490) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @11:09AM (#42387171)

    http://xkcd.com/1150/ [xkcd.com]

    Anyone who expects stuff like this for free should think twice.
    Then again, anyone who uses Instagram is an idiot, but that's a different story.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @11:59AM (#42387547) Homepage

    If you think this then you are incredibly uneducated in matters of legal standing. I dont care what you sign. Spend more than the other guys in lawyers and you win.

    Hell spend enough in lawyers and you can go on a murder spree and get away with it. American Justice is for the highest bidder. Right, Wrong, and what you agreed to has nothing to do with it.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:04PM (#42388193)

    Okay, if you read the ToS, it clearly states that it is subject to change.

    They can change ToS as much as they want, but are all the possible changes legal? In some countries, you can't usurp copyrighted works like this, no matter how much the site operator declares to have the right to do whatever the f**k he wants to.

  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:23PM (#42388351) Homepage

    If you don't agree with the terms, don't use it. No one's forcing you to.

    Consider this similar logic: "If you don't like the Patriot act, don't live in the USA. No one's forcing you to."

    This "free market" response to such issues is bullshit. The free market works when there is a lot of varied competition and when there is near-zero cost to transitioning from vendor to vendor. Neither is true in the case of picking a place to live, and neither is true in the case of Instagram. And when you try to pretend that free markets solve all and therefor nobody should give a damn, you make me want to blow your ass away with my 12-guage. Don't like it? Go live on a planet without guns.

  • Re:Obligatory xkcd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ericloewe (2129490) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @03:29PM (#42389469)

    You're right. But you're missing one detail in your corrected analogy: There is no direct benefit for Fred-Iggy if they run a business for free. Something has to be sold to someone in some way.

    My interpretation of the whole process goes like this, based on your two interpretations:

    * Iggy asks Paul to use his garage to store stuff for free, which attracts Paul
    * Paul puts lots of stuff in Iggy's garage
    * Iggy hides his intention to sell the stuff off OR genuinely did not plan on selling the stuff and has no idea how to make money
    * Behind the scenes, Fred buys Iggy's assets for an obscene amount of cash, again revealing evil plans OR no business sense
    * At this point, Iggy has tons of stuff he can't use directly and is paying storage costs for
    * Fred-Iggy decide to monetize (due to malice or shareholder pressure) their assets: the stuff they're keeping
    * Paul gets upset because he believes he's the customer for Fred-Iggy's service, while Fred-Iggy see him as a source of material that can be sold to a third-party
    * Fred-Iggy have a notorious policy of doing way more than just storing and displaying according to your rules what you gave them: they harvest everything they can about you to sell it to whoever wants the information

    In conclusion, both parties are made up of morons. The difference between them being that Facebook-Instagram are just acting the way they're expected to in their role of an evil faceless (even though Facebook's not faceless, no pun intended) corporation, by stepping on the general public. Meanwhile the users expected all sorts of things for free, oppose to having their data sold off to the highest bidder (and rightly so) and are surprised by that move (nobody with half a brain should be surprised by now). And that's ignoring the fact that instagram has alternatives (dropbox, google drive, skydrive, iCloud) which are far more reputable and are only not chosen because of the possibility of taking a crappy cell phone picture and making it even worse by cropping and applying a tacky filter, making it "artistic".

    tl;dr Facebook/Instagram are overhyped crap and I have little to no sympathy for anyone who expects Facebook to run a charity business.

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

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