Copyright Trolling

The time I would have spent drafting a post for today was spent doing research to support a fellow blogger who is being threatened with a lawsuit by a copyright troll. Almost seven years ago, the blogger linked to a story at a major newspaper’s website, including a photo from the story. Years later, the photographer is trying to extort money out of the blogger for use of the image.

First of all, such a link is most likely an example of Fair Use.

Even if it weren’t, research indicates that the photographer may have failed to timely file for registration of the copyright on the image. IANAL, but it’s my understanding that such  a defective registration means that the copyright holder is only entitled to the actual damages he suffered. Statutory damages are off the table. Indeed, I believe that a reasonable argument can be made that the blogger’s linking to the newspaper’s article created additional traffic to the story and enhanced the value of the photo. Thus, the photographer received a benefit from the link rather than suffering any damage. His case is nonsense.

Copyright trolls need to be dealt with swiftly and firmly.

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