Kai Eiselein, a photographer, is suing BuzzFeed because he claims the site used his photograph of a girl heading a soccer ball without his permission. PaidContent reports that Eiselein is suing for copyright infringement, and wants $3.6 million in damages.
The photo that originated on Eiselein’s Flickr account was published by BuzzFeed and included in “The 30 Funniest Header Faces.” Eiselein’s lawsuit was filed in New York this month. Court documents show that Eiselein wants BuzzFeed to pay up because the site encourages people to share images (and everything else). “BuzzFeed, Inc actively encourages its users to share content, regardless of whether or not that content is owned by, or licensed to, Buzzfeed,” explains the filing.
While your FishbowlNY editors aren’t lawyers, we do like to recite lines from A Few Good Men, so here’s our take on this: It’s unlikely that Eiselein will win. Copyright laws are too ambiguous when it comes to fair use, which is what BuzzFeed will claim. If this goes to court, and someone asks a BuzzFeed editor if he used Eiselein’s soccer photo, we imagine the editor will scream, “You’re goddamn right I did.”