Miami Heat owner sues Google, blogger over ‘unflattering’ photo

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In an act of childishness worthy of his championship players, a minority owner of the Miami Heat NBA team has filed a copyright suit against a blogger for posting a photo of him. He is also suing Google for refusing to take the photo down.

In a complaint filed in Miami federal court this month, Raanan Katz is demanding an injunction and damages over a photo that shows him court side with his tongue hanging out. The photo is posted on a blog devoted to reporting alleged rip-offs involving Katz’s commercial real estate operations in Miami. The lawsuit shows the photo “partially distorted due to its unflattering nature” :

The unredacted photo is still posted on the blog, RKAssociatesUSA. We are posting it below pursuant to copyright’s fair use law:

This is the second time that Katz has sued the blogger. Last summer, Miami news outlets reported that Katz filed a defamation lawsuit against “John Doe” over critical blog posts. That lawsuit appears to have failed, likely on the grounds that Katz is a public figure and that US law is reluctant to chill free speech.

The copyright lawsuit, therefore, appears to be a backdoor for Katz to go after the blogger all the same.

Katz’s complaint lists the blogger as Irina Chevaldina. It is unclear whether he obtained her identity through a court order or other means. The blog is devoted to outlining Katz’s alleged misdeeds and its author has dedicated a number of the posts to the memory of grandparents who were killed by Nazis.

Google is involved because the search giant reportedly refused to take the photo down after receiving a DMCA copyright takedown notice. Internet companies that host content posted by others can lose their so-called “safe harbor” immunity if they refuse to comply with such notices.

Here’s a copy of the complaint:

Katz Complaint
(Image by Nina Malyna via Shutterstock)

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