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Anderson v. Hirsch

A California law firm known for aggressive enforcement of copyright claims, sent demand letters to Eric Anderson, a California resident who operates a web site devoted to discussing films and TV series and the awards for which they are considered, as well as a forum on which members of the public can discuss them. Sent on behalf of two separate New York photographers, the letters complained that users of the forum had posted deeplinks to their photographs, thus enabling other forum users to see the photo without paying a licensing fee and demanded the payment of nearly $20,000 in statutory damages. After receiving repeated threats of litigation, Anderson sued the photographers in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking a declaration of non-infringement on the grounds that deeplinking is not infringement and, in any event, that the host of an online discussion site is not liable for infringements by discussion site users where the host neither engaged in any volitional act that caused the infringement nor derived a direct financial benefit from the infringement.