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Update: Instagram wants breach of contract claim dismissed

In a previous post, we discussed Instagram, the widely used photo effects and sharing service that Facebook acquired last year for $715 million. Instagram is being sued by one of its former users, and the recent legal motions by the company may be of interest to California readers with business concerns related to apps and other computer software issues.

The class-action lawsuit is unfolding in federal court in San Francisco, where the company is facing a breach of contract claim, among other claims. On Valentine's Day, Instagram asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, which centers on a dispute over the company's terms of service agreement.

According to Instagram, the plaintiff's claim doesn't hold up because she had the chance to delete her account prior to the in-effect date for new terms of service. Those terms became effective on Jan. 19, but the plaintiff filed her lawsuit on Dec. 21. Four days before that, Instagram had announced the changes, and after users complained, the terms were altered within a few days to quell those complaints.

Additionally, Instagram's records indicate that the plaintiff even kept using her account after the Jan. 19 changes.

A mandatory arbitration clause was also included in the new terms of service. That clause requires users to agree not to pursue a class-action lawsuit unless very limited criteria are met.

The new terms of service allow Instagram to show users' photos next to ads placed by the company.

As this case illustrates, the language of terms of service agreements must be crafted with great care to protect a business from liabilities. Readers in Los Angeles may want to keep an eye on this lawsuit to see how the judge responds to the request for dismissal.

Source: Reuters, "Instagram asks court to throw out lawsuit over service terms," Erin Geiger Smith, Feb. 14, 2013

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