One of our prior posts brought up Christopher Boffoli’s (who is a photographer) case against Pinterest filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Just to recap, Boffoli filed suit against Pinterest on November 25, 2014, leveling pretty much the same allegations as in another suit he had filed against Imgur. Pinterest and Imgur share some similarities and Imgur describes itself as a “home for the Internet’s most viral images.” Both complaints allege that the respective sites (Pinterest and Imgur) infringed copyrights on Boffoli photos (Imgur complaint, courtesy of TorrentFreak, can be found here). The case against Imgur was terminated in December 2014.
According to Boffoli’s complaint, he is a commercial photographer who has had his work published in major publications, including the New York Times and Washington Post. The complaint also claims that Boffoli’s business is based upon revenue derived from licensing of his work. In the Imgur case, Boffoli alleged that he sent Imgur a “take down” notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA), but that Imgur failed to remove Boffoli’s photos from its site, notwithstanding its alleged promise to do so. Boffoli made similar claims in the Pinterest case.
Pinterest filed its answer to Boffoli’s complaint on January 28, 2015. As expected, Pinterest’s first defense is that it is protected against Boffoli’s claims by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. Section 512). Pinterest’s answer also claims that Boffoli failed to mitigate any alleged damage because he never followed up with Pinterest regarding his request that Pinterest issue a “take down notice.”
Recently, the presiding Judge, Hon. Thomas S. Zilly, issued an order setting the trial date in the Pinterest case for May 31, 2016. If the case doesn’t settle in the near future, the parties will likely spend most of this year conducting discovery. The Court’s scheduling order set January 4, 2016 as the discovery cut-off date.
In light of the discovery cut-off date, it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything dispositive in Boffoli v. Pinterest during 2015.
As we noted, though, artists are not without a few tools to help protect their work on sharing sites like Pinterest. For example, Flickr allows artists to disable content sharing for their work, if desired. Apparently, Pinterest helped formulate a “do-not-pin” code to help artists protect their work from being “pinned’ on the Pinterest website. For an overview of this feature, see Lim Yung-Hui’s Forbes 2012 article, here.
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