Photographer’s copyright claim challenges media aggregator business model

Creative professional in Florida cannot afford to ignore the Internet. It’s the Yellow Pages of the 21st century, the best way an aspiring artist, writer, model or singer can get exposure and drum up new business.

But the Internet is also fraught with dangers, some of which may take the assistance of a lawyer to ward off. Take the case of a fashion photographer who is now going head-to-head in court with a powerful media outlet.

The photographer is suing Abrams Media Network (named for its owner, television legal correspondent Dan Abrams) after two of its sites allegedly published pictures she took without her permission. The media outlet, which claims 10 million viewers a month, took the photos down when she asked them to, but in their place, it posted links to other sites that still had the same photos up.

So now, the artist has claimed copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement. The latter accusation means she believes Abrams Media Network knowingly assisted in the infringement of her copyright by directing visitors to websites that still had the pictures up.

This case could have interesting implications. Abrams Media Network is a media aggregator, which means it roams the Internet looking for interesting photos and articles and then either reposts them or links to them. (The Huffington Post is another media aggregator.) If it is determined that it did indeed infringe on this photographer’s copyright, either directly or contributorily, it means the media aggregator business model may have to change.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Fashion Photographer Sues Mediaite Over Photographs of Kate Moss’ Sister,” Eriq Gardner, July 2, 2012