A Photographer Is Suing Microsoft for Copyright Infringement, Seeks $150,000 Damages

A Photographer Is Suing Microsoft for Copyright Infringement, Seeks $150,000 Damages

A complaint has been filed against Microsoft, which suggests the tech company used a series of images without the permission of a photographer.

Matilde Gattoni is the photographer filing the claim. She states that Microsoft violated the Copyright Act of the United States by their “unauthorized reproduction and public display of copyrighted photographs of women leading China’s wine revolution.” Gattoni had registered copyright of the images she claims they used without permission.

She claims the company published her images within an article on MSN.com without consulting her. Interestingly, Microsoft has licensed some of her photos previously, but apparently not for this specific article. Gattoni says the company going ahead without her permission was “willful, intentional, and purposeful.”

Citing damages to profits up to $150,000 per infringed work. As per Law Street Media:

The complaint sought declaratory judgment in its favor; award for actual damages and defendants profits or statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringed work; an award for all profits, income, receipts, or other benefits Microsoft has had from this misconduct; an award for costs and fees; pre- and post-judgment interest; and other relief as determined by the court.

The suit is filed in New York. See more of its details, including screenshots of the article in question, here.

Lead image by Tadas Sar on Unsplash.

Jack Alexander's picture

A 28-year-old self-taught photographer, Jack Alexander specialises in intimate portraits with musicians, actors, and models.

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This is the article in question - https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/these-are-the-women-leading-chinas-...

However, notice at the top of the article that it's actually from a content partner - The Washington Post. The article originally appeared on the Washington Post's website - https://www.washingtonpost.com/photography/2020/01/24/these-are-women-le...

So why is she suing Microsoft instead of the Post?

Because she is a co-author of WP article and I'm pretty sure that she gave WP the rights to publish her pictures and an article. And in my opinion half a dozen snapshots are not worth $150,000 anyhow. Will see what happens, but I'm sure Microsoft has a lawyer or two to fight it.

Yeah I don't think this one is going to get very far. It would seem that somewhere in whatever agreement she signed with WaPo there had to be some language about content redistribution. Microsoft has a known agreement with WaPo to redistribute their articles. If not, then I can see why a suit would be necessary. Otherwise, this just looks like a frivolous lawsuit to me.

I agree. MSN is primarily just a news aggregator that pulls from other sources they have licensing agreements with. And the fact that Microsoft has licensed other images from her before and simply this one instance either they didn't or it was automatically pulled from Washington Post. This seems like she's just out for a money grab. Pretty sure she won't win this case and it really isn't worth her time unless she can afford it.

I'm waiting for the outcome - that could change things for Google, Microsoft, Apple and many others redistributing news-content. The main question here - might become - where are the images and articles stored. On MSN-servers or on the Washington Post? Or both?
When hosted on MSN or not may make the difference. What is in the contract between her and the Washington Post? Does it allow redistribution or not?
This can become a pretty complex case.

I sure hope she wins, but didn't the courts recently rule that these companies and cities can use your images however and whenever they want (in a nut shell)?