Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Judge Rules News Publishers Violated Copyright by Embedding Tweets of Tom Brady Photo"

Uh oh:

"Having carefully considered the embedding issue, this Court concludes, for the reasons discussed below, that when defendants caused the embedded Tweets to appear on their websites, their actions violated plaintiff’s exclusive display right; the fact that the image was hosted on a server owned and operated by an unrelated third party (Twitter) does not shield them from this result," she writes.


Thus, the judge rejects the summary judgment motion from the defendant news publishers that they are shielded from copyright liability by the fact that they were only providing images hosted by Twitter.

This doesn't mean the news organizations have necessarily lost the case.

In response to a warning from defendants that a loss would "cause a tremendous chilling effect on the core functionality of the web," she notes a number of unresolved strong affirmative defenses to liability.

"In this case, there are genuine questions about whether plaintiff effectively released his image into the public domain when he posted it to his Snapchat account," she writes. "Indeed, in many cases there are likely to be factual questions as to licensing and authorization. There is also a very serious and strong fair use defense, a defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and limitations on damages from innocent infringement."