Photographer Who Won Copyright Case Over Embedded Tweets Goes After More Publications

Photographer Who Won Copyright Case Over Embedded Tweets Goes After More Publications

Last year a New York federal judge agreed that a case of embedding tweets that were in themselves breach of copyright was a further breach awarding in favor of the photographer. Now he's going after more publications.

Photographer Justin Goldman took and subsequently copyrighted a photograph of Tom Brady, Danny Ainge, and some Boston Celtics players. He posted the photo to his Snapchat in 2016 where it was then taken and multiple accounts uploading the picture to Twitter to discuss. While that — to an extent — is inevitable in this day and age, as sad as that may be, what happened after is commonplace too, but far more problematic.

When publications want to avoid paying a photographer to use their image or various other motivations that also include not compensating the photographer, they will sometimes find somebody who has posted the image to Twitter (in breach of copyright) and embed that Tweet instead. This is a crude and blatant workaround that fortunately the New York federal court saw straight through, awarding in favor of Goldman, stating that the embedding of tweets into news stories violated Goldman's copyright of the photograph. The U.S Court of Appeals then compounded that decision by denying the defendants' motion to appeal.

Off the back of this success story for the photographer, Goldman is now filing further law suits against websites and publications, armed with the knowledge that the court do not see embedding a Tweet as a defense against copyright infringement. This is a big victory not just for Goldman, but for photographers, both amateur and professional, whom have their images stolen by circumventing direct theft by embedding somebody else's. The fundamental difference is that a publication is doing it for direct and indirect profit.

What do you make of this case?

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6 Comments

David Love's picture

Make the check out to "I don't work hard so you can try and boost your likes by stealing my work and posting it on your stupid social media page." I am constantly battling people that slap up a hot model page and then go around downloading or embedding pics from all over the site like they are providing a service. You see the same type stuff on youtube with the many top 10 vids that are using other vids they don't own to make content. In the majority of cases these sites end up with more likes and exposure than the people that created the work. And none of the social sites care as long as people keep clicking around those ads.

Leigh Miller's picture

I think our industry can take some key lesson from other creatives when it comes to copyright infringement.

Think...uncleared samples.

There is more than one way to fight when your work is stolen and used by others to profit. Also it's not always about the money.

Destination 360's picture

Leigh if it's not about the money what it is about? Glad to see another photographer getting a copyright settlement.

Leigh Miller's picture

I meant that if we look at Copyright issues purely from $$ we tend to lose in court. If we approach it the way Prince and other artists do...we win and in the end make more money.

It's about control. Control your image/creations and by default...the money.

good, he won.

Kudos for him for standing up for his work!