Creative Photographers is an agency that licenses images for client photographers, as well as policing infringement. It engages with technology companies who scrape the internet for infringing copies of these images. Creative Photographs says that Salem’s Society19 has infringed four of its client photographers’ copyrights by putting unlicensed copies on its website, www.society19.com. Creative asserts that the infringement was willful and deliberate, citing as evidence that Society19 has been sued “numerous times” for copyright infringement (including at least once in this district), and thus should know its conduct was improper. I note that in the prior lawsuit, Society19 filed an answer that included an affirmative defense based on the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, which shields on-line service providers from liability for infringing content posted by users of their services. It seems that liability will likely hinge on whether Society19 employs writers and bloggers and is thus responsible for the content on its site or whether it is a forum on which independent writers post their own content.
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