AOL Sued by Automobile Photographers

EVOX Productions has filed a complaint against defendants AOL, Oath, Verizon Media and other unnamed persons for copyright infringement and trademark infringement. EVOX is an automotive photography company for over 20 years; its work includes high quality still images, interactive images, and videos for a variety of automobile makes and numbers.

AOL was previously owned and operated by Oath, but is now owned and operated by Verizon. The suit is filed in the California Central District Court. EVOX is represented by Callahan & Blaine.

The complaint states that “[i]n 2014, EVOX licensed thousands of its images to AOL for use on one of AOL’s web properties known as ‘Autoblog.’” In 2017, AOL terminated the license agreement with EVOX. However, EVOX claims that AOL was “still using or making available 281,721 EVOX images without license or authorization.” These infringing images are now under Verizon’s control. EVOX photographs approximately 500 new vehicles per year, which include interior and exterior photographs and interactive images.

EVOX claims that its licensing agreement with AOL covered each image for up to one year. This was not for a perpetual license and AOL could not use the image after the license expired. After AOL terminated the licensing agreement, it was still using these images on Autoblog for its “commercial benefit,” according to the plaintiff. EVOX alleges that the defendants have infringed on a minimum of 281,721 images by “distributing them, transmitting them, copying them, displaying them, or making them available to the general public without license or authorization.” EVOX claims that the infringement was willful because they have been notified about said infringement; they state the infringement was at least reckless.

EVOX added that “Defendants have used EVOX’s Trademarks without consent or authorization in connection with their unauthorized use of EVOX Images, which contained such trademarks.” The continued use of these images has caused both copyright and trademark infringement claims. EVOX states that the unauthorized use of its trademarks “was and is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception among other entities and individuals that deal with Defendants and EVOX.” EVOX has sought to remedy these infringements, from continued use after a terminated agreement.  

EVOX has sought maximum statutory damages for each image, a trebled award of damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, an award for costs and other relief as determined by the Court.