Photo editing apps have become quite popular over the years, especially with the growth of image-sharing platforms such as Instagram and as much as these image-sharing platform now have their own in-built filters for users to choose from, third-party apps with more elaborate photo editing capabilities have been on the rise.
Some of the most popular ones, PicsArt (over 100,000,000 million downloads on Google Play Store) and VSCO (over 50,000,000 million downloads on Google Play Store) are now in a legal tussle over stolen filters. VSCO, a more premium photo-editing app compared to PicsArt claims that the later reverse engineered 19 filters from its apps and added them to their app as their own.
VSCO is now suing PicsArt for violating its terms and conditions where users “agree not to sell, license, rent, modify, distribute, copy, reproduce, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, publish, adapt, edit or create derivative works from any VSCO Content.” VSCO believes that PicsArt employees created VSCO accounts which they used to reverse engineer the said filters. On top of this, VSCO is also suing PicsArt for false advertising since the company described the stolen filters as “exclusive”.
PicsArt responded by terming these claims baseless, “VSCO is not a direct competitor, but they clearly feel threatened by PicsArt. VSCO’s claims are meritless. It’s disappointing that they have made these false claims against us. PicsArt will vigorously defend itself against these baseless claims and all options are under consideration,” read the PicsArt’s statement.
Interestingly, PicsArt has since removed 17 of the 19 filters it is accused of reverse engineering after VSCO demanded through a letter back in February that PicsArt removes any filters that they may have reverse engineered from VSCO. At that time, PicsArt responded that they were “in the process of replacing certain underperforming filters and modifying others.”
VSCO’s lawsuit demands that PicsArt repays all the revenue they acquired from the use of the reverse-engineered filters as well as compel PicsArt to stop using these filters on top of payment of damages incurred.