Photographer Sues Google, Says YouTube Ignores Copyright Theft

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YouTube Law

A photographer has sued Google for copyright infringement alleging that YouTube failed to remove his unauthorized images from the website.

The lawsuit was filed against Google, LLC by Doniger Burroughs on behalf of photographer Alexander Stross in the U.S. District Court for the Central Court California on June 28.

The complaint states that Stross is “a professional photographer with over 214 original photographs and videos registered with the U.S. Copyright Office”. In court papers, there are images included of the copyrighted photographs of the interior of houses that he claims were used on YouTube videos without permission.

According to the suit, Stross sent four Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA) compliant takedown notices to YouTube regarding these videos between March 2021 and April 2022.

However, the plaintiff claims that despite his repeated requests, none of the infringing photos have been removed from the website.

In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that YouTube has turned “a blind eye” and “committed acts of contributory copyright infringement with actual knowledge of, or in reckless disregard for, Plaintiff’s copyrights in the Subject Works, which renders those acts willful, intentional, and malicious to the copyright infringement of his work.”

He contends that YouTube has been “heavily criticized” for its “rampant copyright infringement.” The plaintiff notes that his case “concerns only a small part of the widespread infringement of copyrights on YouTube’s platform.”

Stross is suing for damages and legal relief in an amount which is to be established at trial, including any profits attributed to his copyright work being used on YouTube.

In the suit, the plaintiff alleges that YouTube has “obtained profits it would not have realized but for its contributory infringement” of his work.

Stross has initiated copyright suits against other tech giants and online platforms. Last year, he sued Airbnb alleging that the defendants used his copyrighted photographs in their advertisements without his consent or a license.

This is not the first time tech giants have found themselves in legal hot water for copyright infringement.

Earlier this week, two photographers sought to revive a class-action lawsuit against Instagram that claims it contributes to copyright infringement by letting outside websites embed images. Instagram are expected to respond to the argument later this summer.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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