Instagram Privacy Policy prodded with Class-Action lawsuit

The folks responsible for drafting the Instagram Privacy Policy changes that've caused massive amounts of madness over the past few weeks have another chapter to add to their must-read books: a class-action lawsuit in California. This lawsuit has been filed by San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk and targets Facebook – as it were – because of their newly confirmed ownership of Instagram as a whole.

The posting of the rule changes came well before the actual change-over which will be occurring in January for the whole entire universe. The rule changes contained some questionable language regarding the ability of Instagram to sell photos posted with their service without the consent of the creator of said media – but the backlash on the web because of the posting has had more than one massively important result. The first was Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom's retreat, this mixed with the big exodus that appeared to be occurring throughout the week.

This update has Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes noting the following in an emailed statement:

"We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously." – Noyes for Facebook

The rule changes announced earlier this month include a mandatory arbitration clause makes users have to waive their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit in most cases – except in extreme circumstances. Since these rules go into effect on January 19th, 2013, the current rules' allowance of a class-action lawsuit are being taken full advantage of. The lawsuit reads, in part:

"Instagram is taking its customers property rights while insulating itself from all liability. ... The purported concessions by Instagram in its press release and final version of the new terms were nothing more than a public relations campaign to address public discontent."

The full complaint can be found in a Scribd posting which mentions as a source and notes Instagram user Lucy Funes as the person the entire suit is filed on behalf of. The complaint also includes the following:

"If customers do not agree with Defendant's scheme, they can cancel their profile with Instagram. However, upon canceling, customers forfeit all right to retrieve the Property that was previously entrusted to Instagram, which retains rights thereto in perpetuity. In short, Instagram declares that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law and if you don't like it, you can't stop us.'"

It's of course important to note that Instagram's new rules have not yet gone into effect and that you, the Instagram user, may leave any time you like. It's because of these facts that Seattle lawyer Venkat Balasubramani has described the case as "an example of lawsuits against social networks gone completely amok", as posted on Eric Goldman's Technology and Marketing Law Blog – a publication of some note! Good luck, folks!