Copyright Preemption in the Smart Phone Society: The Ninth Circuit Clouds the Picture in T3Media
There is no question that smart phones have transformed the social and economic structure of society, and the integration of increasingly effective cameras has helped spark the revolution. It is now the norm for people to document their lives through images of themselves and those around them, and to share those images through social media, where others then copy, edit, and reuse them within the blink of an eye. Just imagine all the ways that photos are now taken, posted and virally spread via social media. For instance, I have taken selfies, asked strangers to take pictures of me with my hiking buddies, and asked friends to send me images of people from their camera rolls. I have taken photographs of well-known personalities at private gatherings, and snapped pictures of individuals when they had no idea I was even there. Sometimes I decide to post these personal images on Instagram or Facebook, and then away they go… Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit failed in T3Media to fully and accurately address the limits of copyright preemption on state law claims involving the personal rights of individuals appearing in photographs.