Woman Says iPhone Apps Are Illegally Republishing Her Hipstamatic Photos

Categories: Law & Order, Tech
A Hipstamatic photo
A photographer is suing Apple in federal court in Texas, alleging that iPhone apps illegally republish her photos and those of others online without permission.

In a complaint filed against the Bay Area-based company, plaintiff Shanti Deva Korpi says an app called the Unofficial Guide to Hipstamatic "scrapes" copyright-protected photos -- taken using the popular Hipstamatic photo-enhancing app -- from Flickr and republishes them. Similar allegations are made about another image-enhancing application, Photoinspire.

Hipstamatic has become a widespread app for lending a grainy "hipster" quality to photos, many of which are then published on Facebook, in addition to Flickr and other social networks or photo-pooling sites.

Courthouse News Service reports that the complaint states the Unofficial Guide

is advertised as an instruction manual for Hipstamatic; however, its primary function is to 'scrape' and republish photographs that are 'tagged' or otherwise associated with the Hipstamatic app. [The guide] functions on an automatic and continual basis, scraping and republishing photos as soon as they are published to Flickr. In addition to scraping and republishing those photographs, UGTH strips the photographs of all copyright notices and photographer information, thus violating Section 1202 of the DMCA. [Digital Millennium Copyright Act.]

Since the apps are sold through Apple, Korpi requests a permanent injunction barring the "scraping" of her photos, as well as legal fees and damages for copyright violations.

"Hipstamatic is in no way affiliated with 'The Unofficial Guide to Hipstamatic,'" Hipstamatic spokesman Mario Estrada said in a statement on the lawsuit. "We have asked them on numerous occasions to remove themselves from the App store because they are not a valid or trustworthy source for a guide."

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