Court Blesses Instagram’s Right to Unilaterally Amend Its User Agreement–Rodriguez v. Instagram

24 03 2014

Instagram revised its terms of service in December 2012. The revisions (1) stated that Instagram was disclaiming “ownership of content” posted by users, as opposed to disclaiming “any ownership rights in content” posted by users; (2) broadened the scope of the license granted by users to allow Instagram to sublicense user content and do so without restrictions; (3) added a liability waiver; and (4) added an arbitration provision. Instagram provided users with advance notice of the changes, letting users know on December 18, 2012 that the new terms would go into effect in a month (on January 19, 2013).

Rodriguez (the plaintiff), continued to use Instagram following January 2013, although she opted out of the arbitration provision. Her predecessor plaintiff (for whom she later substituted in) filed a lawsuit in federal court, but Judge Alsup dismissed that lawsuit for lack of federal jurisdiction. Judge Alsup’s dismissal was without prejudice to plaintiff’s attempt to file in state court, and Ms. Rodriguez pursued that avenue. She asserted claims for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of California’s unfair competition law. Her claims failed.


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