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Copyrights Intellectual Property Internet Law Litigation

Photographs on the Internet: Circuit Courts Examine Copyright Infringement

Two recent circuit court cases clarified copyright infringement of photographs on the Internet. Both cases serve as cautionary tales for those who takes photographs for their websites from the Internet without investigating copyright rights.

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Two April 2019 circuit court cases clarified copyright infringement of photographs on the Internet. In a case of first impression before the Ninth Circuit, the court opined on the degree of financial benefit required to prove vicarious liability for copyright infringement. In addition, the panel examined jury instructions regarding willfulness in the context of statutory damages. In the Fourth Circuit, the court examined how the infringer’s motives could affect the affirmative defense of fair use. Both cases serve as cautionary tales for those who takes photographs for their websites from the Internet without investigating copyright rights.

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