Instagram hit with class-action lawsuit following terms of service snafu

By Shawn Knight
Dec 26, 2012
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  1. Instagram garnered a ton of negative publicity last week when the photo sharing service changed their terms of service to allow them to sell users' pictures without notification or payment. The Facebook-owned property quickly changed their tune but things are...

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  2. Although it is unlikely that this will destroy Instagram, I hope it does. Cant stand its users thinking that they are photographers when they take poorly framed shots on their phone and put a sun washed filter over it.

    Its just so stupid. I used it for a month or two before it started to get popular, then I quit.
  3. Tygerstrike

    Tygerstrike TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 827   +93

    Per usual, the corporate machine gears itself to screw its own customers. The pictures taken then shared are the property of the person who took them. Instagram has in essence screwed itself. The plantiff is correct in filing this suit. What instagram has done is said they will use your product w/o reimbursing you, then when you call them on it, you can only file a small claims case. Roughly 5grand limit.
    Its amazing how fast FB and the associated companies owned by FB, have turned into the "evil empire"
    Wendig0 likes this.
  4. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 121   +10

    I didn't use Instagram before it was mainstream.
  5. NTAPRO

    NTAPRO TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 807   +91

    That's what they all say. People think they are leet hackers just because they changed some hidden settings or ran some kind of script lol. People used to think they're the best player in the world, until they play some online competition. It's just an application, why can't you just let them be :p

    I know no one that has used instagram and thought of themselves as a photographer. I hear most people just say I'm going to put this picture on instagram, like someone taking a picture of a dunk in mid flight or something. I know a few photographers that have used instagram a few times though. They are technically photographers since they are taking pictures, just not professionally though ;]
  6. vpix360

    vpix360 Newcomer, in training

    Sometimes smart people do very stupid things. This (apparently) is one of them. Granted, Instagram does not "magically" turn any soccer mom, kid or Ansel Adams "wanna-be" into an "instant" photographer.

    Photography, like art, can sometimes be created with chainsaws. Thanks to Instagram, there's a few million chain saws out there that I would ever care to know about.

    Puns aside, what's most disturbing to me is the change to Instagram's Terms of Service (TOS) policy. "It removes the ability for anyone to seek a class action lawsuit, and states that grievances would be heard only in Small Claims Court. (AKA: Magistrate Court)"

    It's a slap in the face to anyone who actually produces really good, original (photographic) content.

    Instagram is big now, thanks to millions of users' photo contributions. Apparently, Instagram thinks: "Let's go make some money with our content. F**k all of the people who helped make us successful."

    It's sick and pathetic. Apparently Gordon Gecko (Greed is good) must be the CEO there.

    If you know anything about copyright law, or ever had a client sue you for copyright violations in a small claims court, you'll know what I know.

    Small Claims Courts (Magistrate) cannot make rulings on Copyright, Trademark or Patent law.

    Why? Because they are strictly reserved for the higher courts.

    I knew copyright law and in 11 minutes I walked out of the court room when I was sued 7 years ago -- the plaintiff still sitting at his desk with his mouth open in complete disbelief.

    He had no clue the Magistrate Court had zero power over hearing any complaint on copyright matters. I did. So I told the judge what the law read, asked for a motion for dismissal with prejudice (so the plaintiff could not come back and refile against me for some other charge). I won. Case closed.

    Assume you sue Instagram for selling your work, with no compensation to you.

    Instagram's attorney asks the judge for a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Magistrate Court cannot hear / make rulings on matters of copyright just as I did 7 years ago. Then, they bring out the updated Instagram TOS and they show the judge the date/time stamp where you agreed to their USE policy.

    And the case is thrown out.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,406   +834

    Since we're on the verge of relinquishing our 1st Amendment Rights, (by popular demand (!)), to keep an bear arms, because of a few psychopaths, I see no reason in the world why anyone would expect compensation for a photographic work.. Let Instagram make money off your work product. Anything else is well, to be blunt, "unpatriotic".

    And before you get too indignant, try to get it through your heads, a phone is not an actual camera, and you, in all likelihood, have no skill, talent, or training anyway.

    Someone who knows what they're doing, would I hope,would not put their work on Instagram anyway.

    I thought the material was more along the lines of, "look, at the face our baby made, when it dry farted for the first today". That "Kodak moment" comes under the heading of, "shooting for expression".

    Although, if you had that same picture of Angelina Jolie's baby, the world would beat a path to your door.

    Um, quick question here. Are you bragging because you violated someone's copyright? Or because you beat them in court? Or both?


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