EliteDaily, one of the top 1000 most visited websites in the world, is being sued by photographer Peter Menzel. On April 15, 2014, the viral content website ran an article titled, “See The Incredible Differences In The Daily Food Intake Of People Around The World (Photos)”. The article was centered around Peter Menzel and his wife Faith D’Aluisio. The pair of photographers had previously published a book of their work titled: What I Eat: Around the world in 80 Diets. EliteDaily allegedly took over two dozen photos from the project and used them in their article without permission. In at least one instance, going so far as to remove a copyright notice from the one of the images.
At the end of the article, EliteDaily wrote: “Photos Courtesy: Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio”, and added a link their website.
In an article published on the American Photo Magazine website, Menzel had this to say on the matter:
“As a freelance photojournalist that self-funds his own hugely expensive multi-year global projects, my team chooses those projects carefully, copyright the images and text, and then works very hard after publication to recoup the considerable expense. One of the chief ways we do this is to license the images and writings for print and web. We charge a licensing fee for feature stories and large portfolios—whether in print or online. Use of our copyrighted intellectual property without permission guts the value of our work, greatly diminishing our ability to finance our project debts, and endangers our ability to undertake future projects.”
Visiting the Menzel’s website, users are first confronted with a landing page that shares a strict Copyright notice which reads, in part: “As you browse, please remember that none of these photographs are within the public domain. They are protected under domestic and international copyright laws and cannot be used without permission.” There is also a link which refers you to an additional page where you “can read all about it in terrifying detail”. Even if you’re not well versed in copyright law, it’s very clear the photographer means business.
Menzel’s lawyers describe EliteDaily as a “‘clickbait’ website that primarily publishes short articles misappropriated and unoriginal content.” According to the International Business Times, they are seeking $150,000 in damages per count of copyright infringement. They continued:
“This is the struggle of the modern artist — you spend years traveling the world, conducting research, taking spectacular photographs, meticulously documenting compelling subject matter, and then thoughtfully publish your work, only to have that work copied and reposted by a website that is too focused on racking up page views to respect your rights or comply with copyright law. Links to the site are posted on Facebook and Twitter, those posts are liked and retweeted, driving even more traffic to the offending site (and away from your original content).”
The original article appears to have been taken down. You can view a cached version of the article, here.
[ via AmericanPhotoMag ]