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Schlossberg v. Luong

Twelve years after a member of the Blade Forums, a discussion site about knives, helped explain what “burl” is in the course of a discussion about the use of burl in knife handles, by embedding a deeplink in the discussion to a photograph of redwood burl appearing on the sales site of photographer Quang-Tuan Luong, a lawyer for Luong sent a demand letter to Kevin Schlossberg, the owner of the discussion forum, claiming copyright infringement.  Schlossberg eliminated the embedded link, so that users could no longer see the image when looking at the discussion thread, but the photographer’s law firm persisted in demanding a payment of damages.  Public Citizen has now filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Schlossberg, asking the federal court to declare that Schlossberg cannot be held liable both because embedded deeplinks are not infringing, and because hosts cannot be held liable for infringement by their users that they did not cause and from which they did not benefit financially.

Rather than have to defend against the declaratory judgment action, Luong signed a promise not to sue Schlossberg over the alleged infringement, and Schlossberg dropped the suit.