Paid Content published a piece today about an adult web publisher filing a lawsuit against Tumblr.

In a complaint filed Friday in Manhattan, Perfect 10 claims Tumblr failed to remove unauthorized photos posted by its users. The company, which sells nude model photographs through a magazine and website, says Tumblr not only turned a blind eye to copyright infringement but that its staff uploaded images themselves to jumpstart the business.

This case may help address issues around fair use and safe harbor provisions for image hosts, but there are two potential distinctions from Pinterest.

1. If Pinterest has figured out a way to promptly address DMCA takedown notices, they will avoid this aspect of any potential court ruling. Scaling DMCA takedown processing is a key to the new breed of image aggregation sites, and Pinterest has taken steps to do this.

2. It is unlikely that Pinterest employees ever pinned Perfect 10 photos, but it is possible they pinned images they didn’t have the rights to. When copyright issues came to the forefront in February, Ben Silbermann the CEO of Pinterest, actually modified his board to remove images he might not have the rights to. Pinterest is certainly aware of this issue, and it likely has circulated some guidance to their employees.

This week I posted a video that addresses why Facebook purchased Instagram. While the ability to track who we are connected with (i.e. the social graph) certainly was a key to this purchase, I talked about how images are a big part of the future of the web. Cases like Perfect 10 v Tumblr will help determine the ways we access images and how site are able to aggregate this content.

 

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