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Audacy Is Latest Media Company Sued For Alleged Copyright Infringement.


Audacy has been sued by BackGrid USA for allegedly infringing on the copyrights of 21 photos owned by the celebrity photo agency by displaying them on its websites without permission. Filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where Audacy’s corporate headquarters are located, the suit also names as defendants Audacy subsidiaries in Georgia, Connecticut, Arizona, Texas, New York, and Missouri.


Redondo Beach, CA-based BackGrid USA says it owns and operates “one of Hollywood’s largest celebrity-photography agencies” and has licensed photos to TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, People and other media clients.


After BackGrid notified Audacy about five infringing photos in September 2020, the suit alleges Audacy infringed on another 14 celebrity photos. It claims the audio giant made things worse for BackGrid by uploading the photos to its social media accounts and encouraging its fans to share the photos. All of this caused BackGrid to suffer “substantial economic damage,” according to the complaint.


According to the complaint, Audacy “has driven significant traffic to its Websites” in large part because of the presence of the “sought after and searched-for” celebrity photographs.


While Backgrid says the injury it is suffering from the actions “can’t be accurately computed,” it says it will suffer “irreparable injury” unless the court “restrains” Audacy. It is asking the court to declare that Audacy is infringing on BackGrid’s copyrights and issue an order for it to stop. The suit seeks damages and reimbursement for legal costs.


Backgrid earlier sued Audacy for copyright infringement in November 2021 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Audacy filed a motion to dismiss the earlier complaint but the case remains ongoing.


Media companies have long been the target of suits by lawyers for photographers alleging they infringed on copyrighted photos by posting them on their websites without first gaining permission. BackGrid USA alone has sued dozens of companies, including Twitter, Cox Media Group, iHeartMedia, “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles, Revolt Media, Maxim, Tumblr, Barstool Sports, and Viacom.

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