Instagram Sued for Failing to Remove Copyrighted Photo

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Photographer Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly has filed a lawsuit against Instagram, claiming that the image sharing service failed to remove infringing copies of her work. In a complaint filed at a federal court in California, Reilly demands a permanent injunction against the image sharing service and compensation for the damage she suffered.

instaWith hundreds of million of active users, Instagram is often asked to remove copyrighted material being shared on its servers without permission.

If rightsholders submit a takedown request, Instagram swiftly takes the infringing content down. At least, that’s what it is supposed to do.

A new lawsuit filed in a California federal court suggests that Instagram’s takedown procedure is not always as effective as it should be.

This week Wisconsin-based photographer Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly filed a complaint (pdf) against Instagram in which she accuses the service of hosting or linking to one of her works without permission.

The work in question is an image of red lips and a microphone, which was registered at the U.S. Copyright Office in 2013. The image in question is used on several occasions, including in the profile below.

One of the alleged infringing uses

After discovering the unauthorized use of her work the photographer sent Instagram dozens of DMCA takedown requests. However, according to the complaint Instagram failed to take action in response.

“Reilly sent DMCA notices to Instagram regarding the Infringing Uses on January 26, 2016, January 27, 2016, January 28, 2016,” the complaint reads.

“Reilly never authorized the Infringing Uses,” the complaint states, adding that the images are still present on the site. “Instagram has not removed or disabled access to the Infringing Uses.”

At the time of writing several of the reported images have been removed. However, the profile picture shown above is still present and the same is true for other copies of the image on Instagram.

To resolve the matter, Reilly requests a permanent injunction against the service, as well as statutory damages for the alleged losses she has suffered.

This is not the first time the photographer has gone after a social network. A few months ago she filed a similar lawsuit against Twitter. This case was dismissed not much later, but it’s unclear if both parties reached a settlement out of court.

A few weeks ago Reilly also sued Buzzfeed for copyright infringement and the case is still ongoing.


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