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Judge dismisses lawsuit over Instagram terms of service

Lawsuit over controversial changes at the photo-sharing service gets tossed on procedural grounds.


A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Instagram over controversial terms-of-service changes announced last year that many feared awarded ownership of users' photos to the popular photo-sharing service.

In a decision issued Friday, Judge William Alsup for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Lucy Rodriguez could not sue Instagram for a number of procedural reasons, including the level of plaintiff's injury and state of residence. Alsup also denied plaintiff's request for leave to file a second amended complaint.

Finkelstein & Krinsk, the law firm that represented Rodriguez in the matter, declined to comment on the ruling but told CNET that it planned to refile the case in San Francisco Superior Court.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on the ruling.

The lawsuit, which was filed last December, accused the service of breach of contract and trying to "grab for customer property rights" after announcing revisions to its terms of service that many feared gave the service perpetual rights to sell users' photographs without payment or notification. After a user backlash, Instagram soon backpedaled on the changes and announced that the terms would revert to the version in place since the service launched in 2010.

Instagram had said that the new terms of service would go into effect January 19 and that users could not opt out but could delete their accounts before the deadline. The lawsuit took issue with that last point, claiming that customers could cancel but that in doing so would forfeit the right to their photos.

In a motion for dismissal in February, Instagram argued that Lucy Funes -- the original plaintiff in the case -- was not entitled to her claim because she could have deleted her account before the new terms were implemented and continued to use her account on January 19, when the changes in terms of service occurred. Lucy Rodriguez was substituted as the plaintiff in an amended filing in March.

(Via GigaOm)