When it comes to copyright infringement, Buzzfeed doesn’t exactly have a strong leg to stand on. The news and entertainment site has been accused of using content and images without permission almost since it began and has seen it’s fair share of lawsuits on the matter. Like so many web properties, as it’s grown, Buzzfeed has tried to separate itself from those practices, even going back and deleting obvious offenders from their library. Still, for many, the damage has been done and Buzzfeed’s reputation for refusal to stop re-using content without credit or payment will linger.
That’s what was on the mind of Barstool Sports’ founder David Portnoy when he reportedly received a warning of copyright infringement from Buzzfeed regarding a post about what Donald Trump would look like without his trademark tan. The post includes a tweet showing the before & after image but does not make any reference to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed, however, notes that the images used in the included tweet came from their post in which contributor Jen Lewis created the un-tanned Photoshop creation of Trump. Their request, which came from an unnamed “Legal Affairs Manager” asked that Barstool remove the content and any corresponding social media posts.
Barstool’s response was, well, very Barstool.
This is literally the craziest email I’ve ever received. Flat out NUTS. Buzzfeed has no joke stolen from us at least 500 times. Probably closer to 1,000 times but I’ve lost count. I contacted them 5 years ago or so when they used to steal stuff from us daily and they basically told me to shove it. Their entire business has been built on stealing other people’s content. They have openly admitted they built their empire on stealing other people’s stuff. They deleted over 5,000 plagiarized posts and hoped nobody would notice. FIVE THOUSAND. They have fired people over plagiarism. They steal random pictures they find on the internet. They steal everything from Reddit. And now a picture that Feitleberg saw on Black Twitter and didn’t even know had anything to do with Buzzfeed they are threatening us about? BANANALAND. Apparently Buzzfeed has no problem building their empire by plagiarizing other websites, but the second they hire actual writers they no longer think it’s okay to do this. They make a subtle distinction that they went from an aggregating site to a media site. AKA – It was okay to steal when it made them rich, but not anymore now that they’ve created their brand and can pay staff. Honestly it makes me want to puke. This is the house you built Buzzfeed. It’s a house built on lies, deceits and plagiarism. Don’t cry to me when 1 fucking picture that nobody even knows where it came from ends up on our site. In closing fuck you.
You might not like Portnoy and Barstool and the way they go about their business but, you know, he’s kinda got a point.
The ball now heads back to Buzzfeed’s court and we’ll find out just how much of a page they’ve turned on the infringement issue.