Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram Because People Still Don't Like Its Terms Of Service
from the and-some-class-action-lawyers-want-to-get-rich dept
We’ve discussed plenty of times how class action lawsuits too often are about nothing more than some lawyers shaking down a company, hoping for a “settlement” in which the lawyers make out with millions while the “class” they represents gets very little, if anything. Yes, the class action system serves a purpose, but it seems like it’s way too easily abused. Any time anyone gets upset about anything you can expect a class action lawsuit to be filed within days. Indeed, you may recall last week there was a but of a hubbub around Instagram’s planned new terms of service, which really didn’t say anything that new or surprising, but the online world ran with it in full outrage mode. In response, Instagram agreed to change the new terms and eventually agreed to keep much of the existing terms of service in place.
However, it appears that wasn’t enough to satisfy some class action lawyers, who quickly whipped together an angry lawsuit about how awful (just awful!) Instagram’s terms of service are. You can read the full complaint here and try not to laugh as the lawyers try to come up with any theory under the sun as to why the terms are somehow breaking the law. The lawyers are arguing that a small change in the standard boilerplate language used by nearly every single service online is some sort of breach of an “implied contract.”
They also argue that merely putting into the terms the idea that you agree to allow them to use a photo in association with an advertisement constitutes a violation of California’s publicity rights law. That’s somewhat insane. The way you get around violating a publicity rights claim is to get people to license their works, and now these lawyers are arguing that in trying to get Instagram users to licenses their works, that alone violates the publicity rights law? Really? That’s like saying that it’s illegal for you to enter my house without signing a contract, but the second you ask for the contract, that’s considered trespassing.
In the end, it’s difficult to see what actual damage they’ll show has occurred here. And there’s a simple existing solution: if you don’t like the terms, don’t use the service. This isn’t complicated.