Philpot v LM Communications

Background information

Plaintiff is a professional photographer who posted photos online under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Upon discovery that the defendant used one of his photographs without attribution, plaintiff sent a cease and desist letter. Defendant removed the image from its site. Three years later, defendant used a copy of the photograph on its website without attribution and plaintiff sued in federal court for infringement and improper removal of copyright management information.

Case summary

The district court found that LM Communications had infringed Philpot's copyright, but rejected Philpot's other claims. In a subsequent decision, the court found that LM Communications' infringement was not willful and awarded Philpot $3500 in statutory damages, with no attorneys fees awarded. Philpot appealed the attorneys fees decision to the Sixth Circuit, which reversed and remanded after finding that the district court abused its discretion in awarding attorneys fees given that Philpot was the prevailing party. The district court ultimately awarded $1889.80 in attorneys fees to Philpot.

Attribution Photograph