BuzzFeed’s Loss in Photo Case Affirmed by Second Circuit

Written August 17, 2020

The Second Circuit on August 13, 2020, found BuzzFeed Inc. is liable under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for altering a photographer’s credit for a picture and publishing the photo in an article without permission. Mango v. BuzzFeed Inc., 2d Cir., No. 19-446, 8/13/20.

Gregory Mango, a photographer, sued BuzzFeed for using one of his 21 photographs without crediting him in violation of the DMCA. A BuzzFeed reporter downloaded the photo, removed Mango’s credit, and used the picture in the article. Mango won on both counts and was awarded statutory damages.

BuzzFeed argued it wasn’t liable for altering Mango’s photo credit because there was no proof it knew that the removal would lead to future infringement by third parties. But the Second Circuit said the district court properly found BuzzFeed liable because the reporter should have known that altering the credit implied BuzzFeed had permission to use the photo, “thus concealing its infringement.”

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