Andy Ngo Bei Two photojournalists sue for allegedly stealing copyrighted videos

Right-wing provocateur Andy Ngo has been sued by two Portland-based photojournalists in federal court alleging he violated copyright law.

In the lawsuit, filed December 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Oregon District, 33-year-old Grace Morgan and 31-year-old Melissa Lewis allege Ngo profited from repeatedly retrieving and re-posting original videos that he had obtained. they filmed while covering leftist protests and civil unrest.

They are seeking an injunction barring him from any future infringements plus $300,000 in punitive damages, an attorney representing the couple said.

Morgan and Lewis aren’t the only independent reporters and videographers to question Ngo’s social media aggregation tactics. Based on a list Compiled by independent researchers, Ngo has been hit with a takedown notice under the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA). dozens time, with many claims made in the past 18 months. Morgan alone has had footage she filmed at the protests circulated without her permission on 38 cases as of 2020, she said, and blocking him has done nothing for her and Lewis. Nor did it prevent the multitude of harassment they encountered when Ngo change their jobs.

Like Ngo has become right’s favorite chronicle of left-wing activists — and according to fiercest critic, One communicators for the far right — reporting from the field has become a near-impossible thing because threats he received. Morgan and Lewis told The Daily Beast to keep the flow of content flowing, he necessarily relies on footage not only from other journalists but also activists and bystanders. As a media personality, Ngo has the right to comment or share other people’s work. But in the view of Morgan and Lewis, Ngo has crossed those lines. By collecting videos wherever he finds them on Twitter, he positions himself as a single source of news on urban conflict, whether he’s in-person or not.

“[Ngô] steal people’s videos,” Lewis said. Morgan echoed those claims. “[Ngô] stole the content of so many independent journalists from Portland and around,” she said.

Usually these video presented with context stripped or the truth obscured by corn, they claim, all serve singular target: making content ready to go viral depicts the inherently violent and dangerous left, conservative audiences about the product desire. Then, filing a lawsuit was more than just putting an end to his alleged theft and subsequent misappropriation of their work, both Morgan and Lewis said. They believe they are siding with those who lack the means and time to engage in lawsuits, or cannot afford to put themselves in the position of Ngo’s opposition. Not always, “his audience was so violent,” as Lewis described Ngo’s biggest fans.

“Andy [Ngô] Alan Kessler, Portland’s copyright attorney representing Morgan and Lewis told The Daily Beast. Despite frequent accusations of intellectual property theft, Ngo was able to move on by “using copyright laws in extremely severe ways to deter people from criticizing him… He has could weaponize this law”.

Kessler continued: “In this case, Andy is Goliath,” and Morgan and Lewis are David. Ngo has his own property, the backing of celebrities on the right, and a warm seat for him. Fox News, all of which make litigation a daunting task, even before including anonymous online scammers who are sometimes willing to make his excuses. Larry Zerner, a Los Angeles-based copyright and entertainment attorney who also represents Morgan and Lewis, put it more succinctly: “This is what made him stop.”

In response to a request for comment sent to Ngo, Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican official and attorney who served as legal adviser to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, expressed confidence that Ngo, her client, would prevail. “This lawsuit is Antifa agitprop masquerading as a copyright claim, unrelated to fact both in fact and in law,” she said in an emailed statement. “In a word, this lawsuit is frivolous. These claims are destined to fail — again — and we look forward to that day.”

The lawsuit cites two videos that Morgan and Lewis posted to Twitter on October 1, 2021 from the Portland protests, and which Ngo returned with his own specific spin a day later.

Twitter’s functions and terms of service allow sharing or even embedding videos posted by other users, which Dhillon noted in his statement. “If U.S. copyright law depends on creators liking or wanting critics to rate their work, we might as well rescind First Amendment because no journalist like him Ngo, can critique anything the author doesn’t want them to,” she added.

And for the most part, Twitter users – reporters or not – don’t care about others promoting their work or even making harsh comments. But the same terms imposed by Twitter do not exempt Ngo (or anyone else) from applicable copyright law or revoke ownership of the original material, according to the lawsuit. (Shortly after The Daily Beast contacted Ngo, he quote-tweeted a two-minute clip of the cinematographer for the first time in recent memory instead of embedding the URL, as he did with videos produced by Morgan and Lewis. Quoting tweets will not be considered a violation of copyright law. On Friday morning, he deleted it and repost as an embedded video.)

Enforcing those laws requires a considerable amount of work. Assuming a complainant discovers the alleged theft, they can file a DMCA takedown notice with Twitter. The account in question will then have time to respond to the counterclaim. If they do, and if both sides remain concerned, Twitter will effectively wash their hands and send the dispute to court. Usually this shows which side has less pocket money in serious disadvantage. Corn reported took advantage of this right In late October, leftist accounts accused him of filing a DMCA notice for posting a picture of himself sitting underneath graffiti bearing the name of a Polish anti-far-right group.

By Lewis’ estimates, Ngo had hijacked her video “dozens of times” during the height of the protests in 2020 and 2021. At that point, Portland became the fixation between the ultra-online right wing and then-President Donald Trump in turn, all too often paint the city as a hell besieged by the menacing left. Corn has been at the forefront of these efforts. Center-left movements, from Black Lives Matter to antifa, have been lumped together or seen as “domestic terrorists”, as Ngo said when he was called in. witness before a Senate subcommittee. According to the lawsuit, blocking Ngo should have made it clear to him that neither Morgan nor Lewis authorized him to post videos on his account. Also, this block makes it impossible for him to scan the URL without first logging out or using the burner. Filing DMCA notices and tweeting asking him to stop did not affect Ngo’s conduct either.

The first time Ngo Lewis mentioned by name on Twitter, on November 2, 2020, he posted a screenshot detailing another, unrelated lawsuit she was involved in – a disability lawsuit – showing she was epilepsy and sensitivity to images. Almost two weeks later, some people she described as far right chased her during a nighttime protest and exposed her to flashing lights until she had a seizure. convulsion. She believes there is a straight line between the events and his posts.

Morgan, too, has suffered all manner of harassment from individuals she believes are fans of Ngo. She has received death threats; people came to her workplace and home; and immediate family members living in other states have been contacted by people she believes are far-right extremists. Morgan claims that the harassment always appears to be directly related to Ngo mentioning her on Twitter. When she reported on the scene, she knew she was highly recognizable, largely because Ngo posted photos of her. Sometimes, she will hear people calling her name.

Meanwhile, Ngo has benefited from what both Lewis and Morgan have described as “dangerous” work done by others. Lewis was beaten up by law enforcement, acted under cover at an ICE facility, and was exposed to reproductive-harmful chemicals “Corn didn’t have to do any of that, ” she said. “Corn sat behind the computer and stole my work.”

Both Morgan and Lewis emphasized that the lawsuit has little to do with money. Also don’t expect any money they receive, if they win, to cover their legal costs. Barring lawsuits, Ngo has little incentive to stop reposting content he had no hand in creating. After all, that led him to amass nearly a million Twitter followers, frequent television appearances, rave reviews from Republican politicians, and a best-selling book. The videos he keeps posting — or pictures of leftists, or videos of people, usually people of color, accusation non-political crimeor stories where he was accused botching—Is what has kept Ngo in such a prominent position. His written output, either on the right-wing website The Post Millennial or op-eds written for New York Post and other right-wing media companies, cannot be compared.

They were well aware that taking him to court meant putting a bigger target on their backs. “It is very, very dangerous to reveal your identity to Ngo,” Lewis said.

There is a reason that no one has been willing to do so so far. “It’s because people are scared,” she said. Andy Ngo Bei Two photojournalists sue for allegedly stealing copyrighted videos


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