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Goodreads Hit With Infringement Lawsuit Over a Photo Uploaded by a User


Your average fangirl

A rights management agency by the name of BWP Media filed a lawsuit against Goodreads last week. This firm is alleging that by hosting a photo (that was uploaded by one of Goodreads users) Goodreads is a filthy stinking pirate. BWP Media is seeking $150,000 in damages in recompense for the career that has been ruined by that terrible, terrible act.

The photo in question shows Dalton Rappatoni, a member of the boy band IM5, and it was posted to a GR group by what was almost certainly a fan of the band. It's not clear why BWP Media chose to file a lawsuit rather than simply file a DMCA takedown notice, but it does raise questions about whether this is a legitimate case or an example of copyright trolling.

I have yet to hear back from Goodreads, but odds are this is a lawsuit that will go nowhere fast. This situation is clearly covered by the DMCA, meaning that Goodreads is almost certainly not liable for the possible infringement committed by a user. Just about the only way Goodreads might be liable is if they screwed up their DMCA notice process, and I seriously doubt that happened.

Curiously enough, I'm pretty sure the photo in question is still visible on Goodreads. It's one of a handful of photos that have been uploaded to an album.


image by 74louloute

About Nate Hoffelder (11117 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

7 Comments on Goodreads Hit With Infringement Lawsuit Over a Photo Uploaded by a User

  1. Yes, someone’s career has definitely been ruined. Did you check the number of views of the photo? 60 when I looked at it a couple minutes ago. Hard to imagine how 60 views can ruin someone’s career, except perhaps as a commentary on the band’s popularity? 😉

    I bet your article alone doubles those views. I certainly wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.

  2. Reminds me of the time a few years ago a woman friend of mine put up a single, fun web page for her small child who loved Puff the Magic Dragon. The page contained images of Puff and a silly little .midi of the Puff song. The Peter, Paul, and Mary web-trolling Nazis found out, told the lawyers, and they threatened lawsuit. She took the page down. Ridiculous.

  3. Last I heard the “safe harbor” provisions of the DMCA protect website operators from liability as long as they honor takedown notices.
    (In this case, the material was posted at the direction of somebody other than Goodreads, which is one of the expicitly listed safe harbors (C).)

    So, unless Goodreads ignored a fully documented takedown notice, the suit is going to bounce like a bad check.

  4. They waited until the Amazon purchase was completed before filing.

  5. Badreads steals content. I have sent them two DMCA takedown notices and they refuse to remove my copyrighted content from their website. They claim “Fair Use”. How can it be fair use when the material is in a hostile environment where it is under attack and everyday it it posted there, against the my wishes as the copyright holder, causes damages to my reputation, career and livelihood?

  6. I read your comment over at PaidContent. You really don’t get what the DMCA is for, do you?

    People saying mean things about you is not the same thing as piracy.

  7. Banning someone who complaints about endless personal attacks and stalking, and then refusing to remove their intellectual property from the site has nothing to do with people saying mean things troll.

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