Plaintiff, a professional photographer, sued Mashable, a media and entertainment platform that operates the website mashable.com, and its parent company, Ziff Davis, claiming that the entities had infringed her copyright in a photograph that she had previously posted to Instagram. The claim stemmed from Mashable’s publication of an article about female photographers that embedded plaintiff’s photograph from Instagram using the social media platform’s application programming interface (API). The use of the embedding technology meant that each time the article was displayed, the API retrieved and displayed the image from Instagram. Mashable had previously offered to license the photograph directly from plaintiff for $50, but she had declined.
As for plaintiff’s claim against Mashable’s parent, Ziff Davis, the court determined that plaintiff had not pled any involvement by Ziff Davis in the purportedly infringing activities. The complaint merely pled corporate ownership of Mashable by Ziff Davis, which was insufficient to sustain a claim for infringement against the parent company.
Summary prepared by Melanie Howard and Sarah Levitan Perry