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$3.6 Million For One Image? Photographer Sues Buzzfeed

By Hanssie on June 20th 2013


Show of hands, how many of you out there have Google searched for an image for a blog post or for something or another, saved it and used it for some reason or another? I’m going to venture a guess that most site owners have done it. Well, now, major social media sharing site, BuzzFeed is in hot water for doing the same.

Buzzfeed isn’t new to lawsuits. In October of 2012, they were sued for over $1 Million for using celebrity photos without their permission. Here’s the latest.

Idaho Photographer, Kai Eiselein is suing BuzzFeed for $3.6 million in damages for using one of his images for their article, “The 30 Funniest Header Faces” without attribution. The article, now, retitled, “The 29 Funniest Header Faces,” is a montage of awkward faces soccer players make while heading the ball. Eiselein contends that BuzzFeed not only used his image without permission, but is liable for “contributory infringement” because the site encourages readers to share the content they find.

Eiselein originally uploaded the image onto Flickr, a photo management and sharing site. See the image HERE. As a result of BuzzFeed’s post, the image has now appeared on dozens of sites. This isn’t the first time the site has been in trouble for copyright infringement. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed settled a case where they used copyrighted paparazzi images of two celebrities.

In this digital age, where sharing is encouraged and viral content is desired, what are your thoughts? Does Eiselein have a case? As a photographer, I know it irks me to have my images used without permission or credit given. In fact, I had a recent argument with a friend about posting an image I took and he cropping out my watermark. Now, if that image went viral? Hmmm, maybe I should sent him a bill for $3,600,000.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Bill him

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