Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photobucket Not Required To Actively Police Site For Infringements

Photobucket - 8 billion photos online

In Wolk v. Kodak Imaging Network Inc., 10 Civ. 4135 (RWS) (SDNY March 17, 2011), Judge Robert Sweet found that Photobucket, an internet service provider, was protected by the "safe harbor" provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). 17 USC 512(c).

Essentially, the DMCA requires an internet service provider ("ISP") to set up policies to respond to complaints from copyright owners when a third party stores infringing materials on their site.   The complaints, or takedown notices, must specifically inform the ISP where the infringing material is.

Photographer Sheila Wolk sent numerous takedown notices to Photobucket.  Her images, excerpted above from her website, are unusual and distinctive.  All infringing materials that she specifically identified were removed.   But the infringements kept popping up and Wolk got fed up and sought an injunction.

Judge Sweet's decision denied Wolk's application and her attempt to force Photobucket to install an electronic fingerprinting system to catch infringers.

Professor Eric Goldman warns copyright owners against being lazy in sending out takedown notices here, Marty Schwimmer's Trademark Blog is skeptical about Photobucket's alleged inability to screen its content here.

Wolk v Photobucket
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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