The online dispensary locator app Leafly (OTC: LFLY) is in hot water for using a photographer’s images of rappers Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.
Photographer T. Eric Monroe, whose work has been featured in publications such as Thrasher and XXL Magazine, claims Leafly Holdings unlawfully published and displayed Monroe’s original photography on its website, leafly.com.
In addition to helping consumers locate dispensaries, Leafly offers educational information on various cannabis products and strains. It also provides some additional news content.
The story in question looks to be an article on blunts, which are typically hollowed-out cigars with cannabis inside. The story features side-by-side portraits of Tupac and Snoop with a caption stating that Tupac taught Snoop how to make a blunt. The caption goes on to say Snoop is reported to smoke 10 blunts a day. The exhibit in the court document does not show any photo credit for Monroe.
Monroe is the sole owner of the exclusive rights, titles, interests, and privileges in and to the subject photography, which he has registered with the United States Copyright Office. Monroe claims he never authorized Leafly to use his photographs.
The case alleges that he informed the website in January of the unauthorized use, and Leafly did not respond. He claims that Leafly “knowingly induced, participated in, aided and abetted in and profited from the illegal reproduction and distribution of the Subject Photography.”
Monroe went on to claim that Leafly removed his copyright management information and his metadata information, and did not give him credit for his work.
The photographer asked for damages, to be determined in court, and for his legal expenses to be covered.
The case was filed in the Southern District of New York even though Monroe lives in New Jersey and Leafly is located in Washington state. The case states that because Leafly does business in New York, that is where they chose to file the case.