George Frena owned and operated a small-scale subscription bulletin board service ("BBS") that was freely accessible to customers online via telephone modem. The BBS functioned much like an online library, allowing customers who had either paid a fee or purchased a certain amount of products from Frena to connect via the Internet and "browse through different BBS directories to look at pictures" and "download...copies of the photographs...from Frena's computer onto their home computer." In addition to general file-sharing, one of the BBS's more popular features was that subscribers could, among other things, upload and download "adult content matter" to and from Frena's BBS, and thus his computer. Unbeknownst to Frena, however, users subsequently uploaded 170 copyrighted photographs taken from fifty separate issues of Playboy Enterprises, Inc.'s ("PEI") flagship magazine, Playboy.
Eisenberg, Benjamin H.
"A Speedbump on the Information Superhighway: Pushing Copyright Law into the Online Era,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 92:
2, Article 17.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol92/iss2/17