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Photographer may sue out of existence

A six-figure lawsuit over photos a fan anonymously posted in the comments section of the web’s biggest Joni Mitchell fansite may end with the site shutting down.


Fidel Martinez

Internet Culture

If a nasty lawsuit doesn’t go away, the biggest Joni Mitchell fan site on the Internet will.

On Wednesday, Les Irvin, who runs, announced that he’s personally being sued by celebrity photographer Charlyn Zlotnik over 4 photographs of the legendary folk singer and songwriter. The images were uploaded to the comment section of the site by an anonymous user.

Copyright law dictates that a service provider—Irvin, in this scenario—is not liable if they remove any infringing content in good faith and in a timely manner, something Irvin claims he did.

Zlotnik is continuing to pursue legal recourse despite Irvin’s mitigation actions, according to a plea posted on the fan site. The post was removed but not before DL Care of PetaPixel grabbed an excerpt of it:

“Until now. Charlyn [Zlotnik] has refused to drop the case … A $25,000-$600,000 payment out of my pocket spells the end of a lot of things for me personally – including, obviously, the end of

“I’m not asking for your money, but I am asking for your help. If you have been enriched at any point by the treasure that is, if you choose to see this resource as a benefit and a service rather than as an attempt to defraud and infringe, and if you feel this situation is unfair… please help me by sending an email to the attorneys and the photographer Charlyn, Leslie, and Carolyn – asking them to drop the lawsuit. Or if you agree with them, give them a thumbs up instead!”

Zlotnik’s work has been featured in various noteworthy publications, including the New York Times, Time, and Newsweek.

The 62-year-old photographer was arrested in October 2012 for allegedly selling over $1,000 in Adderall to undercover police between December 2011 and July 2012.

Irvin confirmed yesterday via his site’s Facebook page that the lawsuit was still pending and as a result he was abstaining from commenting on it until it was “legally prudent.”

Photo via Anthony Easton/Flickr

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