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New Jersey Photographer Unsuccessful in Claim Against Social Media Platform

August 16, 2022


As reported by PetaPixel, New Jersey photographer, Harold Davis, lost the copyright infringement lawsuit he launched against Pinterest in 2019 for allegedly using 51 of his photos on its site without his permission.

Davis argued that Pinterest infringed on his copyright when the site displayed the pictures alongside advertisements as “promoted pins” (paid ads that customers can post to Pinterest), which he claimed constituted unauthorized commercial use of his work. The choice of which pin to promote, and the content of this pin, is at the discretion of the user purchasing the promoted pin, not Pinterest. Davis also challenged Pinterest’s use of his works in emails and push notifications to users.

A US District Judge granted summary judgment in favour of Pinterest on the basis of the safe harbour provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The judge noted that, even if Davis could show Pinterest was making a profit from Davis’s photos, which he failed to do, precedent does not support his position. Individual users (not Pinterest) added Davis’s works to the Pinterest platform; the fact that Pinterest uses algorithms to increase consumer access to content does not make it responsible for any infringement.


Authors: Taryn Wunder and Caitlin Woodford


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