When it comes to online piracy most attention usually goes out to music, TV-shows and movies. However, photos are arguably the most-infringed works online.
While most photographers spend little time battling piracy, Seattle-based artist Christopher Boffoli has taken some of the largest web services to court for aiding infringement.
Boffoli has filed lawsuits against Twitter, Google and others, which were settled out of court under undisclosed terms. Last week the photographer filed a new lawsuit, this time targeting the popular image collection platform Pinterest.
According to the complaint Pinterest is hosting 56 photos from Boffoli’s well-known “Big Appetites” series. These photos are hosted without permission and Pinterest allegedly failed to take them down when the photographer sent a takedown notice.
“Upon discovering the Infringing Content, on August 19, 2014 Boffoli sent Pinterest’s designated agent an email notifying Pinterest of the Infringing Content,” the complaint (pdf) reads, adding that the notices complied with all DMCA requirements.
Despite being alerted to the infringing material, Pinterest took no action. The only reply Boffoli received was an automated message asking him rate Pinterest’s customer support.
“To date, Pinterest has not removed or disabled access to the Infringing Content. In other words, the Infringing Content is still accessible to the public on Pinterest’s server,” Boffoli’s lawyers write.
The photographer is asking the court to order an injunction preventing Pinterest from making his work available. In addition, the complaint asks for actual and statutory damages for willful copyright infringement.
With at least 56 photos in the lawsuit, Pinterest theoretically faces more than $8 million in damages. Thus far the company hasn’t responded to the complaint but at the time of writing the URLs are no longer linking to infringing content.
Two months ago Boffoli launched a similar case against popular image sharing site Imgur. This case was dismissed on Monday, meaning that the image hosting site is off the hook.
It’s unclear whether a deal was made behind closed doors, but considering previous court actions this doesn’t seem unlikely.
The Imgur case resulted in some negative backlash for the photographer as 20,754 of his photos were uploaded to The Pirate Bay in response. Given the history of the deviant torrent site, these copies won’t be removed anytime soon.