US court rules that Instagram is not liable for copyright violation

US Court of Appeals ruled Instagram not liable for secondary copyright infringement. The court used the ‘server test’ as precedence, which has sparked controversies in copyright infringement cases.

 Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone

The US Court of Appeals from the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Instagram is not liable for secondary copyright infringement. Two photographers accused Instagram of violating their copyrights by enabling Time and BuzzFeed News to attach their copyrighted photos to online articles without the photographers’ consent.

One of the plaintiffs claimed that Instagram intentionally encouraged, aided induced third-party websites to attach copyrighted photos. However, the Court of Appeals did not find any violation and ruled that the attachment of a photo does not display a copy of the underlying images. In reaching this decision, the court used the Perfect 10 vs Amazon case as precedence, in which the ‘server test’ was established, affirming that a website can not be liable for copyright infringement ‘as long as the copyrighted work isn’t stored on its server.’

At the same time, the ‘server test’ concept has raised controversies regarding decisions on copyright infringement cases across the USA, as websites have relied on it to avoid legal trouble. Some courts have pushed back on the “server test,’ while the US US District Judge Jed Rakoff claims it contradicts the Copyright Act.