Northern California Record

Monday, November 11, 2019

Court denies PopSugar's motion to dismiss Instagram influencer's copyright infringement case

Lawsuits

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 14, 2019

Copyright 11

SAN FRANCISCO – Celebrity news website PopSugar, which was sued by an Instagram "influencer" over an allegation of copyright infringement of her content, has suffered a loss in court.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a 10-page ruling on Feb. 7 denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Nita Batra against PopSugar Inc.

In his ruling, Gilliam considered valid the allegation of violation of the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA).

"Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a violation of section 1202(b). The Instagram sidebar is alleged to include identifying information about plaintiff that plausibly constitutes (copyright management information) under section 1202(c). And the plausible inference from Plaintiff’s allegations is that PopSugar removed the CMI from plaintiff’s Instagram posts knowing that removing the CMI would help to conceal the alleged infringement of plaintiff’s images. The court therefore denies defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s DMCA claim," Gilliam said.

Gilliam also considered the other claims valid.

Batra sued PopSugar in June 2018 alleging that the website violated copyright laws, altered her copyright management information under the Section 1202(b) of the DMCA, as well as it "infringed plaintiff’s copyright in her photographs, misappropriated plaintiff’s likeness and infringed her right of publicity, intentionally interfered with plaintiff’s contractual relationship, made a false or misleading representation in violation of the Lanham Act, and violated the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL)," the ruling said.

Also stated in the ruling, "plaintiff alleges class action claims on behalf of 'persons with large numbers of followers on social media,' also known as 'influencers.' The complaint alleges that PopSugar copied thousands of influencers’ Instagram images, removed the links in the original pages that allowed the influencers to monetize their following, and reposted the images on its own website without authorization with links that allowed PopSugar to profit when users clicked through and purchased items."

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 4:18-cv-03752-HSG

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