Playboy Entertainment sued Happy Mutants, LLC, the company behind acclaimed website Boing Boing. Playboy accused Boing Boing of copyright infringement for reporting on a historical collection of Playboy centerfolds and linking to a third-party site.
Boing Boing began life as a zine in 1988 before moving to the web in 1995. The 30-year-old site, which reports and comments on the latest in the arts, science, and technology, didn’t publish or display Playboy’s photos. In a February 2016, 42-word blog post, BoingBoing told its readers that someone had uploaded scans of the photos, noting they were “an amazing collection” reflecting changing standards of what is considered sexy. The post contained links to an imgur.com page and YouTube video—neither of which were created by Boing Boing. Courts have long recognized that linking to content on the web isn’t the same thing as copying it.
EFF and co-counsel Durie Tangri LLC represent Happy Mutants.