Care to Share: Who Owns Your Instagram Pics?

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Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Courtroom

You might think twice before uploading your next picture.  There is a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Instagram in regards to their newly updated Terms of Service.  The photo-sharing company recently announced a change in their TOS that, in some eyes, relinquishes their users’ ownership of personal photographs they chose to upload.  In theory, the Facebook-owned company would be able to use any added pictures and images to promote their own brand.  The civil suit, based out of Northern California, contends that the pictures’ rights should be retained by the photographer and technically do not belong to Instagram.  These proposed changes are scheduled to take effect early in 2013 and include the company’s advertising access to any personal information given by the end user.

Considering Instagram has over 100 million users a class-action lawsuit is a fairly serious concern.  They had made users aware of possible changes a few weeks in advance, and has ensured that no new changes have taken effect.  The initial backlash in the public eye has caused the popular social network to re-think their strategy.  This specific class-action lawsuit would include any photo uploaders who take issue with their personal information being used for targeted advertising or other forms of marketing.  Facebook, the social media giant, recently purchased Instagram for around $1 billion in cash and stock.  The popular photography app, which you can download via Android or iPhone, allows users to take pictures to share with their friends, specializing in the ability to add unique filters or other creative elements.

The popular idea that “possession is nine tenths of the law” does not appear to be enough to stop this case from reaching settlement.  Fresh off a paycheck from Facebook, who have been in the news a lot recently, does not appear to be overly-concerned about the updates to their Terms of Service.  The belief is that anyone who still wants to, will continue to use the photo-sharing app.