Law Street Media

Bleacher Report Sued For Using Photographs Without Permission

A close-up of a camera lens.

Camera zoom lens zooming in and out to focus a sharp image and to capture a photograph or video

Photographer Howard Schatz filed a complaint against sports website Bleacher Report on Thursday in the Central District of California, alleging that the site infringed on the plaintiff’s copyrighted photographs, specifically for posting them without permission or obtaining a license.

The plaintiff created and exclusively owns the subject copyrighted photography.

A screenshot of the photographs at issue taken from the complaint.

Schatz averred that the defendants “willfully copied, reproduced, displayed, and distributed the Infringing Content for financial benefit and without the Plaintiff’s consent.” Furthermore, the defendants did not obtain a license or the plaintiff’s permission for their use of his photographs on their site, according to the complaint.

According to the plaintiff, there are three articles that feature the infringed copyrighted photographs, these include articles about baseball, Albert Pujols, and Andre Ward v. Arthur Abraham. The plaintiff asserted that the defendants accessed these photographs from online third-parties or his social media accounts and the “identicality of the copying also show access.” According to the plaintiff, the defendants should have known that they were not authorized to publish these photographs. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendants have profited from this infringement. Furthermore, Schatz also alleged that the defendants also induced infringement in addition to infringing themselves. The plaintiff proffered that the defendants illegally removed his copyright management information and/or added false copyright management information to the photographs before publishing or distributing the content; all of which the plaintiff asserted is illegal.

Schatz accused Bleacher Report and the other defendants of willful and intentional copyright infringement, vicarious and contributory copyright infringement, and other copyright law violations.

The plaintiff has sought to enjoin defendants from further infringement, for the defendants to remove content that includes the infringing photographs in part or whole, an award for defendants’ profits or other monetary gains from said infringement, to create a constructive trust, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, pre and post judgment interest, and other relief.  The plaintiff has also demanded a jury trial.

The plaintiff is represented by Doniger/Burroughs.

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