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Photographer Who Settled With Twitter Over Copyright Infringement Allegations Now Targeting Google

from the betting-on-lightning-strikes dept

Photographer Christopher Boffoli is back, once again suing big names for copyright infringement performed by users. Back in 2012, Boffoli sued Twitter for its supposed refusal to remove infringing copies of his "little figurines with real-sized food" photos from users' accounts despite being notified via DMCA takedown requests.

While he stated at the time that he was flattered by people reposting his photos and generally thought the internet provided a cheap and easy way to obtain notoriety, he still pursued a lawsuit against Twitter because… well, a bigger target is always a better target. (He has since sued Vingle, Hootsuite, WHI, Inc. and Network Data Center Host, Inc.) Boffoli's lawsuit did have at least one solid point: if you want to avail yourself of DMCA safe harbors, you need to respond to takedown requests.

This case was settled for an undisclosed amount (if money changed hands at all) and Boffoli dropped his suit against Twitter. Now, it appears he wants to bag another tech leader and has filed an almost identical lawsuit against Google.

He alleges that Google ignored takedown requests for two sites he claims the search engine giant owns. One it clearly does (Blogspot) but the other (bursuk.org) doesn't seem to be among this long, long list of Google holdings (xls). Boffoli filed DMCA notices last December and the content still hadn't been removed (or the users "prevented from posting") by Google 100 days later, leading to this lawsuit.

Once again, Boffoli makes claims that will be hard to prove.

Google induced, caused, or materially contributed to the Infringing Website’s publication.
This is the toughest claim to defend. Failing to take down content when notified is not the same as inducement or material contribution. As lawyer Evan Brown explained when Boffoli sued Twitter, simply providing hosting is not enough to lend material support to someone else's infringement. It's also highly unlikely Google did anything approaching the inducement of infringement. As is constantly reported, Google de-lists thousands of links every day, so it's obviously making an effort.

That Boffoli could only track down two sites tied to Google (and one of those is open to debate) is an indication of the company's responsiveness to takedown requests. Once again, it appears Boffoli is hoping for a settlement of some sort rather than the jury trial requested. It's a whole lot easier to serve Google than it is to go after the actual infringers and Boffoli is taking the easier (and more familiar) route. As Mike opined during Boffoli's initial infringement lawsuit, this has all the hallmarks of a "Steve Dallas lawsuit" -- something pursued not because the named party is in the wrong, but because that party has deeper pockets.




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Disgruntled Teenager (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    The "Steve Dallas lawsuit" in action at home.

    This does doesn't work for me.

    Although my dad has the deeper pockets, he frequently gives Lincoln a black eye with his iron grip.

    So I ask mom instead, pockets shallower but an easier mark!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    Re: The "Steve Dallas lawsuit" in action at home.

    your moms shallow pockets might be related to being an easy mark

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Ron (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 5:54pm

    don't put it out there

    I look at it this way. If you don't want it on the internet don't put it on the internet in the first place. And if you do put it on the internet mark it in a way people knows who put it up there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 7:17pm

    Photographer Christopher Boffoli is back, once again suing big names for copyright infringement performed by users.
    Really? Well, I think I'll just take photos of little figurines with various food items, and when the guy sues the website I post them on, I'll not only turn around and say, "Independent creation. STFU!" I'll sue the prick for libel and defamation of character for saying I infringed on his copyrights when I didn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 9:02pm

    Re: don't put it out there

    Exactly,it's same with music and videos.If they don't wanted to be parodied and mashed up etc,They shouldn't have it published in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2014 @ 10:36pm

    He's taking photographs of food?

    Maybe we should refer him to the chefs who insist that photographing their food is akin to IP infringement - not only is he infringing on their IP, he's profiting off litigating about it. Disgraceful!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 5:01am

    Why work for a living when one can simply extort money?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, May 14th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    Don't Feed the Trolls

    Rather than a Steve Dallas vibe, this may be more of a case of using the lawsuit for publicity. After all, he believes "the internet provide[s] a cheap and easy way to obtain notoriety". It's a big troll on Journalism. Don't feed him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    limehouse1670 (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 11:32am

    Safe Harbor

    To me the most ridiculous aspect of this story is that a company with a $300 billion valuation can't afford to keep up with handling its DMCA complaints.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Don't Feed the Trolls

    Oh, don't worry about it. This guy isn't providing anything people actually need, so he'll soon learn that there is such a thing as bad publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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