Photo agency sues Twitter for $228.9 million over copyright infringement

Jan 13, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photo agency sues Twitter for $228.9 million over copyright infringement

Jan 13, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Celebrity photo agency Backgrid has sued Twitter over copyright infringement after users uploaded thousands of its photos on the social media platform. Twitter reportedly received DMCA takedown notices, but failed to take action, and it also reportedly failed to sanction “repeat infringers.” Because of this, if Backgrid wins, Twitter will have to pay a whopping $228.9 million!

Backgrid filed the lawsuit on 30 December 2022 at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. According to the lawsuit, Twitter infringed at least 1,526 celebrity photos, and the agency sent over 6,700 notices to take down their copyrighted images. However, Twitter reportedly failed to take any of them down. Furthermore, some Twitter users allegedly posted copyrighted images multiple times, but the lawsuit notes that Twitter failed to suspend their accounts.

According to the same report, Backgrid initially reached out to Twitter trying to resolve this issue direc. But as the company never responded, so the photo agency turned to the court. As The Verge notes, there’s no information about whether Backgrid tried to contact Twitter before or after Musk made it his playground. “An attorney at the firm representing Backgrid did not reply to a request for comment, and Twitter no longer has a public relations department,” this source writes. Yes, you read that right: one of the largest social networks had fired a majority of its public relations department.

In the complaint, Backgrid requests $150,000 per photograph in statutory damages. Since there are “at least” 1,526, it adds up to $228.9 million. However, as The Verge notes, they may not get nearly as much, and Twitter will probably try to settle the case for less. Either way, we’ll keep an eye on the case and keep you posted.

[via The Verge]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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2 responses to “Photo agency sues Twitter for $228.9 million over copyright infringement”

  1. lewisfrancis Avatar
    lewisfrancis

    I’m guessing the folks that used to handle DMCA takedown requests were fired.

  2. Philip La Lumiere Avatar
    Philip La Lumiere

    They won’t win.
    They won’t even make it to trial.
    At best, they’ll get a couple percent of that as a settlement offer (“go away” money).

    Under section 230, social media companies are not liable for user uploaded content. If they were, they’d all be sued into the ground by the end of the day. They may facilitate it’s removal on the grounds of DMCA law (or if it’s criminally illegal content they can also remove that. Criminal content has a whole different set of laws and section 230 may not apply to certain types of criminally illegal content), but ultimately twitter is not liable, the users who posted the content are. This is a civil case not a criminal case, and civil law does not find twitter to hold responsibility.

    You can bring a lawsuit on anyone. It does not mean you have a case, nor does it mean you will see trial. Most cases are either rejected or settled before they get close to trial.

    That number is also unreasonable. $150,000 per photo is not a realistic figure of what they would have gotten had the photos not been posted on Twitter. They definitely are not getting nearly 1/4 billion worth of sales off of 1700 images, not even close.