The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied an immediate appeal in a closely-watched case involving Twitter, news outlets and photographs of National Football League star Tom Brady.
Back in February, a US district judge delivered a blow to several news outlets, including Time Inc and Yahoo, by finding that the companies had violated a photographer’s exclusive right to display a photo of Brady.
Photographer Justin Goldman took the picture and uploaded it onto his Snapchat story in 2016. The image quickly went viral and ended up on Twitter.
Many news outlets published the image by embedding the tweets into news articles.
Goldman took issue with this and accused the outlets of copyright infringement in a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The defendants argued that merely providing instructions to access the image by embedding it does not constitute displaying the picture.
But, in the February decision, District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that “the fact that the image was hosted on a server owned and operated by an unrelated third party (Twitter) does not shield them from this result”.
One month later, Forrest granted the news outlets the right to appeal against the decision to the Second Circuit, after acknowledging that the February decision had “created tremendous uncertainty for online publishers”.
But the Second Circuit has refused to confront the issue with its refusal to hear the interlocutory appeal yesterday. A clerk for the court filed the notice of denial, which states that the “immediate appeal is unwarranted”.